Tensions rise as Nadal backs under-pressure ATP boss

Rafael Nadal on Monday threw his support behind ATP Tour chief Chris Kermode as he fights to save his job, and hit out at not being consulted by the players’ council over such an important issue.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported at the weekend that a move was under way to topple the Briton among a section of players unhappy at the way the game is being run.

The ATP players council, headed by Novak Djokovic, met in Melbourne on Saturday and reportedly voted 5-4 against Kermode continuing in his role when his contract expires later this year.

Asked for clarity in a press conference Sunday, Djokovic attempted to defuse the situation, saying: “I don’t know where you got that information, a 5-4.

“That information is completely confidential, so I can’t speak about anything that we spoke about in that room.”

Nadal said Djokovic had not been in touch to sound him out about Kermode.

“I am not in the council any more, and at the same time, nobody from the council side came to me and asked me my opinion,” he said after cruising into the Australian Open second round.

“Was the first information I had that maybe Chris is not continuing. But I suppose if some crucial decisions like this, I understand that somebody from the council should come to me and ask my position.”

Roger Federer suggested on Sunday that he too had not been consulted and said he wanted to speak with senior players such as Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray about what was going on.

Kermode has overseen big increases in prize money for players, created new events, and supported new progressive rules for injured players.

But according to an email the Telegraph cited from ATP player council member Vasek Pospisil there was a push for “a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests”.

The email added that “the governance structure of the ATP favours the interests of the tournaments and its (their) owners … It’s time for a change and it can be achieved by staying unified and demanding what we deserve for our hard work”.

Nadal said he didn’t believe it was healthy to chop and change the ATP leadership.

“I believe that is not good to have changes all the time, because is difficult to develop a good project of work if we have changes every three, four years,” he said.

“I believe that Chris probably did some good work out there, and I don’t see him doing negative things or enough negative things to not continue in the position.

“In terms of the president thing, I believe will be good for the sport if he continues.”

© Agence France-Presse

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