ATP chief deserves more time: Millman

Tennis star John Millman says ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi should be given more time to implement his vision after Novak Djokovic formed a breakaway group.

JOHN MILLMAN of Australia.
JOHN MILLMAN of Australia. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

John Millman believes ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has copped "the rough end of the stick" in tennis's political war being waged at the instigation of world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Millman doesn't favour either side but feels Djokovic resigning as head of the players' council last month, along with members Vasek Pospisil and John Isner, to form the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is unfair on Gaudenzi.

Djokovic has described the PTPA as a platform for players to be better heard on decisions that affect their livelihoods, but the move has provoked resistance from council members Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"There's been probably rumblings for a while that they wanted to have some kind of association for a year or two now," Millman said from the US Open in New York.

"Look, I didn't sign up to it. I'd like to know more information but I'd also like to think that Gaudenzi should be offered the chance to implement his vision.

"He's been given a bit of a rough end of the stick because he got in at the start of the year, we've had five-and-a-half months of COVID and I just feel he should be given just a little bit more time."

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was set up by players in 1972 to represent the men's athletes but its board now includes representatives of tournament owners as well.

Besides the ATP and the women's WTA, the sport is also controlled by the International Tennis Federation and the boards of the four grand slams.

In response to the formation of the PTPA, the governing bodies issued a joint statement calling for the unity at a time when the sport has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with Federer, Nadal and now Millman echoing the sentiments.

"We could be on the same team even though they have got the association and the ATP," said the Australian No.3.

"We could work together and I do feel we should be giving Gaudenzi time to implement his vision.

"I know he has a big vision, I know he's got big plans.

"There are things the ATP could be doing better and I think they have definitely identified that and maybe this is a kick in the butt, as we say in Australia."

But Millman, a former ATP players' council representative, understands why Djokovic established the breakaway group.

"As far as I'm aware, they feel as if making this players' association was necessary for them to get the positive change that they want," he said.

"That's probably where they're coming from. I think the intentions are fine, I just hope that we can all work together to create a really good product."