The world revolves around money, especially at the highest levels of sports. All this money can be good as the players can get paid lots, as long as they are making deep runs in tournaments, but the downside to money control sports, especially tennis, is that it sours who is really in charge and how those people view how tennis should be run. Novak Djokovic has been trying to fix that issue for years, and he recently gave an interview talking more about his concerns.
Part of the issue is that with most tournaments, ATP and WTA players have a 50 percent share in what happens. The tournaments have the other half. But there gets to be a divide because while the players are involved in the tournaments to earn a living, the tournaments exist to simply make businesspeople even more money.
One reason Novak Djokovic formed the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) isn’t because Djokovic wanted to take over the ATP or WTA, but because he didn’t think there was clear direction from tennis’ two governing bodies on many player concerns, such as drug testing. Novak Djokovic thought the PTPA could be a service to help players get more involvement and clarity from the WTA and ATP.
Novak Djokovic speaks out about ATP and WTA monopolies in tennis
Dokovic told sportal.rs last week that “there is currently a monopoly in tennis…It’s a vicious game and a vicious circle, but as long as I have a voice to be heard, I will use it.” Djokovic feels that neither the ATP nor WTA should be controlling the sport but instead actually helping players get the most they can from the money they earn from winning matches.
But Djokovic sees the tennis media as part of the overall issue of money controlling everything that happens in tennis. He said, “Many media who are in tennis choose not to write about (the ATP and WTA monopoly in tennis) because it is not in the interest of those who pay them.” That’s a strong take as that implies that the media is controlled and biased in its reporting because of how the media makes money as well. A partial media can be an unfair media.
It would appear, though, that Novak Djokovic’s PTPA already has had an influence on the ATP. This past August the ATP announced the formation of something called Baseline. This is set to start in 2024 and will help players have a bit more financial security.
The way it works is that the top 250 players are guaranteed a certain amount of income and should the player come up short of the guarantee by not winning enough matches, the ATP and Baseline will step in to help. There are three levels of guaranteed money: The top 100 players are guaranteed $300,000, players ranked 101 to 175 are guaranteed $150,000, and players ranked 176 to 250 are guaranteed $75,000.
This helps players not doing well to keep playing their coaches and others on their team and this likely wouldn’t have happened except for Novak Djokovic and the PTPA. Now if only the scheduling of tournaments can be fixed quite a bit, all would be better.