Men’s tennis seems increasingly to be on the brink of major unrest after a leader of the burgeoning players’ union launched a foul-mouthed tirade against ATP Tour supremo.
Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, who along with Novak Djokovic was at the forefront of setting up a players’ union, very publicly described ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi as an ‘f ****** a ** hole’ at his first Miami Open. round.
The incident came in the aftermath of a spirited players rally earlier this week, in which Pospisil was reportedly subjected to a personal assault by the tour hierarchy in attendance.
Vasek Pospisil hit his racket on court this week in an unusual display of rage
ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi (right) has been slapped with Pospisil and Novak Djokovic (left) over their proposed players’ union in an effort to improve prize money and conditions
The situation tonight in Miami Open to ¿¿¿¿Vasek Pospisil.
Broke racket. Swore to referee. Punishment for verbal abuse.
“Yesterday for an hour and a half the chairman of the ATP yelled at me during a players meeting because I was trying to unite the players”
– Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) March 25, 2021
Clearly still shaken by the events, Pospisil suffered an unusual collapse when facing American MacKenzie McDonald late on Wednesday.
Over the course of getting a penalty for crushing his racket and swearing during his defeat, the Canadian exposed his feelings to referee Arnaud Gabas.
“For an hour and a half, the ATP chairman yelled at me at a players meeting because I was trying to unite the players,” Pospisil told Gabas.
‘For an hour and a half … the leader of the ATP … f ****** a *** hole. If you want to declare me in default, I am happy to sue this entire organization. ‘
Overnight, he apologized on Twitter, but this probably isn’t the end of the matter.
He described himself as’ nervous’ about his meeting with the ATP hierarchy, saying, ‘I would like to sincerely apologize for my conduct at the Miami court earlier today. I underestimated the toll these emotions took on me until I took the job today. Again, I am sorry for my conduct on court and the language I have used. ‘
Pospisil took to Twitter to apologize for his actions on court after his furious outburst
Some parts of the player’s body are said to be in such a mutinous mood that there have been discussions about an attempt to boycott the Miami event.
This week’s grievances include a reduction in prize money by more than 50 percent and being forced to stay in a bubble throughout the tournament, an ongoing situation that is wearing off for many.
According to the usually knowledgeable Canadian website Open Court, Pospisil had been outright attacked by Gaudenzi during the meeting.
They called him things like ‘ignorant’, ‘uneducated’ – beautiful things like that, ‘it reported. ‘We were told he was in tears. And that even just before he took the track today to play his game, he was still upset. ‘
The ATP Tour had no comment on Thursday morning.
Pospisil was clearly shaken after allegedly ‘shouted out’ at players meeting
The Canadian threw his racket on the ground before filing a complaint with the referee on the field
For more than two years now, players like Djokovic and Pospisil have been trying to form a pure players association to lobby for better prize money and improved conditions, including for those lower in the rankings.
At the moment, the ATP Tour, which has no control over the four Grand Slams, is an uncomfortable partnership between the players and regular tournaments.
Djokovic, Pospisil and others try to give the players an independent voice, although they are not unanimously supported. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are among those more in favor of maintaining the status quo.
Covid’s restrictions and the cut in prize money seem to have brought things to a boil.
Pospisil told chair umpire that he was shouted at ‘an hour and a half’ at a meeting
The men’s game ends in great turmoil and the players are getting more and more unhappy
With the tour currently in Florida, it’s likely they’ve looked at their golf counterparts with envy.
On Wednesday, John Isner compared their bubble to the relative freedom of players on the PGA Tour, who recently played in the Sunshine State.
Golf has also not been hit as economically as tennis by the unrest caused by Covid.
It has many financial advantages over tennis. These include having a much more lucrative equipment market and being largely focused on one country, America, the world’s largest economy.
John Isner compared the ATP Tour to the PGA of golf (pictured), where players have more freedom
Many tennis players, on the other hand, feel the crush, which contributes to the current unrest.
The upheaval is likely to be a recurring theme as the tour prepares to hit the hard courts of Europe, with all the current uncertainties and crises on the continent.
This could extend to the grass runway swing in the UK. Players have already been warned that they are likely to face restrictions such as being confined to hotels rather than being allowed to stay in private London accommodation, a practice previously enjoyed by many.