*A roundup of the latest happenings in the world of Tennis before the commencement of 2020 US Open Tournament this week
*Naomi Osaka Refuses to Play her WTA Semifinal Match Over Blake Shooting
*Novak Djokovic resigns from his position as ATP *Players Council President, wants to form a New Body to Represent Tennis Players
*Nadal and Federer not in Support of the New Association
Off-court dramas have been surrounding the beautiful game of Tennis for a few days now. Lots of interesting stories have made it round the world of Tennis: from Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the WTA semi-final game due to the shooting of John Blake to Novak Djokovic and Canadian Pospisil, together, trying to form a new body to represent players and many more.
Here, we take a good look at some of the key issues currently going on within Tennis (in general) to provide insights on what is intensifying or influencing these matters.
Naomi Osaka Refuses to Play her WTA Semifinal Match Over Blake Shooting
Last week Thursday in New York, Naomi Osaka withdrew from her WTA Western & Southern Open semi-final tie to protest against the police shooting of a black man (called Jacob Blake) in Wisconsin.
The Japanese was scheduled to come up against Belgian Elise Mertens in the same quarantine bubble where this year’s US Open will kickstart this week.
Naomi Osaka, on her twitter page, expressed her sadness over Jacob Blake’s incident: “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction. Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again.” She ended it by asking a question on if this particular kind of scenario will ever become a thing of the past: “When will it ever be enough?”
Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a police officer as he tried to enter a car that contains his children on Sunday in Kenosha.
Earlier before Osaka refused to play her semi-final game, NBA, MLB, and MLS have already postponed their games to show their support (in a protest) against the police shootings.
Novak Djokovic resigns from his position as ATP Players Council President, wants to form a New Body to Represent Tennis Players
Djokovic and Canadian Pospisil (a member of the ATP Tour Player council) have both resigned from their respective duty having to do with ATP in the light of the announcement of the new body known as Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). It will be the first player only association in tennis since 1972.
Vasek Pospisil made known his resignation from the council official on twitter: “After two years on the ATP Player Council, I am resigning from my position as the player representative for the 51-100 ranking positions. It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current structure of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour. I am proud to say I have always fought for what I believed to be right and, in doing so, never compromised my integrity. My sole mission on the council was to represent my peers well, and I’m extremely proud to have done that to the best of my abilities. I leave holding my head high.”
According to Pospisil, the goal of the PTPA is not to be combative, to disrupt, or to bring about any issues within or outside the Tennis tour but to unite players and have an influence n the decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of Tennis players.
Milos Raonic, a Canadian professional tennis player, after his win last week Friday, said a large number of players were expected to give their supports to the new association: “Players have had plenty of time to think and reflect and take a look at certain parts which they may not be happy with and discuss. I don’t know. A lot of us were kept in the dark by our leadership for six months. We were disappointed with many things.”
Nadal and Federer not in Support of the New Association
Two Tennis legends, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, are not buying to the of setting up a new Tennis association led by Novak Djokovic.
Nadal took to his Twitter page with an expression on how he wished the ATP is not separated but united in this current situation of things happening in the world: “The world is in a difficult and complicated situation. I personally believe that in these times we should keep calm. It’s time for unity, not divorce. These are times when great things can be achieved as long as the tennis world is united.”
The Spaniard (Rafael Nadal) long-time close rival, Federer, supported the notion given by Nadal in a Twitter too: “These are uncertain and challenging times, but I think it is crucial for us to remain united as players and as a sport.”