Tennis

Big 4 to meet over ATP's woes

Federer will speak to Nadal, Djokovic and Murray over future of ATP chief Kermode

Roger Federer said yesterday he planned to speak to fellow big guns Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray about the future of ATP Tour chief Chris Kermode after reports of a move to oust him.

Britain's Daily Telegraph said it had seen a strongly worded e-mail sent out by ATP player council member Vasek Pospisil to players ranked between 50 and 100.

It reportedly called for the workforce to "start acting and running like a business not like a bunch of scared kids ... We need a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests".

The e-mail 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".

The ATP board - comprised three tournament representatives and three player representatives - is expected to vote on a possible renewal of Kermode's contract this month.

He needs two of the three board members from each side of the ATP to support him.

Federer said he was not on top of what was going on but planned to speak with his colleagues about it.

"I was going to speak to some of the council members. I'm practising with one of them this afternoon, Robin Haase," he said ahead of the Australian Open, which starts today.

"I would like to hear a little bit from him how the council meeting (on Saturday) went, where their general feel is about leadership in the ATP."

Federer added: "We've had a good five, six years now under Chris' leadership. Obviously it's an important role.

"We need to look at it very thoroughly. I need to speak with Novak, Rafa and Andy a little bit just to get their take on it all."

Meanwhile, Djokovic said he is satisfied with how the Grand Slams are reacting to a player-led push for bigger paychecks - but that it's not about increasing his own bank balance.

Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player's Council, has led a push for a higher portion of earnings generated at the world's biggest tennis tournaments to be distributed to players.

He said yesterday that he was satisfied with recent prize money changes, which includes a 14 per cent rise in the prize pool for the Melbourne event to A$4.1 million (S$4m).

"I have to mention that because we are focused on distribution, equal distribution, and we are focused more on the earlier rounds, last rounds of qualification ..." Djokovic said.

First-round losers in the main draw, for both men and women, will receive A$75,000, representing a 25 per cent increase on the previous year.

Djokovic and rival Roger Federer are both in search of a record seventh Australian Open title. - AFP, REUTERS


Men's first round (selected)

From 8am:

  • J. Duckworth v R. Nadal (x2)
  • K. Anderson (x5) v A. Mannarino
  • K. Edmund (x13) v T. Berdych
  • R. Opelka v J. Isner (x9)

From 3pm:

  • R. B. Agut (x22) v A. Murray

From 4pm:

  • M. Cilic (x6) v B. Tomic
  • D. Istomin v R. Federer (x2)

Women's first round (selected)

From 8am:

  • M. Sharapova (x30) v H. Dart
  • P. Hercog v A. Kerber (x2)
  • J. Goerges (x14) v D. Collins
  • S. Stephens (x5) v T. Townsend

From 4pm:

  • A. Uytvanck v C. Wozniacki (x3)
  • P. Kvitova (x8) v M. Rybarikova
  • A. Barty (x15) v L. Kumkhum

* All in Singapore time

Tennis