July 05, 2019
On a day where Novak Djokovic dodged political questions, Jamie Murray revealed he quit the ATP player council after growing tired with the power struggle behind the scenes in men’s tennis.
Jamie Murray explains player council exit as Novak Djokovic dodges political questions
Djokovic’s silence was particularly curious given just two days ago he had vowed to go through the court documents of disgraced Justin Gimelstob’s assault case – for which the American former ATP board member entered a no contest plea – and discuss his position with the media ‘next time’, however, when that time arrived he shut down all questions. ‘I’m not answering questions about Justin or politics or anything. Sorry,’ Djokovic said. ‘Please respect that. I’m just focusing now on tennis.
We’ll speak when we’re done with the tournament. ‘When I read it, I’m going to come back to you when I want to. I don’t want to do it now. My focus is on tennis.’ While on the one hand it is perhaps fair enough for the reigning Wimbledon champion to focus on defending his title, Djokovic’s change of heart came just a day after lawyers represnting Gimelstob – who assaulted venture capitalist Randall Kaplan last halloween, which allegedly caused his wife to miscarry – sent a statement out to media outlets complaining at the ‘harrassing’ of players over their relationship with the American.
Jamie Murray explains player council exit as Novak Djokovic dodges political questions
Political tensions were thrust back into the spotlight last weekend when three players resigned from the player council – of which Djokovic is president – after months of in-fighting among the 10-man group. Murray was one of those to resign – along with Robin Haase, Sergiy Stakhovsky and coaches representative Dani Vallverdu – and after his two doubles matches at Wimbledon on Friday, he explained the reasoning behind his decision to walk away. ‘I put in a lot of time, three years I’d done on the council,’ Britain’s top-ranked doubles player said. ‘The first two years I think I really enjoyed, I feel like I was able to accomplish a lot of things. The council as a whole and like me and Bruno [Soares, his former doubles partner who is also on the council] personally from a doubles perspective. ‘I really enjoyed it and learnt so much about the tour as well and then obviously the last year has kind of gotten very political, people kind of out for their own gains I think, a few vendettas perhaps out there as well. ‘For me we’re not accomplishing anything here and I was kind of fed up sitting in these six or seven hour meetings and coming out of it and not talking about the tennis, not talking about the tour. I was like I’m not going to waste my time with that anymore.
Jamie Murray explains player council exit as Novak Djokovic dodges political questions
‘I think there’s a few people out there in various positions or not in positions who are trying to grab power and push their own agendas which personally I don’t believe in that route and it’s not something I really want to be attached to.’ Asked if he was worried about the direction those with vendettas and agendas may take the tour, Murray, who won his mixed doubles but crashed out of the men’s, added: ‘Yeah, potentially. ‘It’s not to say who is right or wrong in what direction the tour should take. I just, me personally, I don’t agree with the direction it is going. So I’d rather not be a part of it, especially when I don’t feel like I can contribute it and make a difference. ‘There’s a lot of good people out there who want the best for tennis but it seems to me like there’s a small minority who disagree with things and they want it to go in a different direction and it’s not the direction I really believe in and that’s why I’m not doing it anymore.
Jamie Murray explains player council exit as Novak Djokovic dodges political questions
‘As I say things are a bit sort of divisive but I don’t think that’s anything people didn’t really know, did they? ‘The tour is doing well, it’s just some people want it to go in one direction and other people want it to go in another direction… and that’s why I felt I had to stop.’ There have been concerns that Gimelstob is angling for a return as a player representative on the ATP board by the end of this year, with recently appointed Weller Evans only holding the position on a temporary basis for six months, and Murray was asked for his views on whether the American should be allowed to make a swift return. ‘I mean, Justin has done a lot of good things for the players,’ he replied. ‘I’d definitely say that and I’ve seen how hard he works for the guys and he got a lot of players into action and kind of created awareness for them about how they could be earning more money and how the tournaments could be giving more money but I think there’s other stuff as well that I don’t agree with and I just don’t want to be a part of that.’
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