Djokovic says he spoke to Serena about players’ association

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Novak Djokovic said he has been speaking to top female tennis pros, including Serena Williams, about the players’ association that he and Vasek Pospisil founded in the hopes of gaining “more access and more transparency” – and a larger cut of the sport’s revenues.

“You start to realize that the players are not represented in the way that they deserve and in the way they should be,” Djokovic said during a video conference to discuss the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) on Friday night, three days before the start of Wimbledon, where he will be seeking a 20th Grand Slam title.

“I feel like many players are figuring out,” Djokovic added, “that we need to do something more than just trying to be satisfied with the little information that we are getting.”

Tennis players are not represented by a union the way athletes in North American team sports are; instead, each player is considered an independent contractor.

“Tennis is far behind, I think. We’re in 2021 and this is just … a fundamental need for our sport in the world that we live in,” Pospisil said. “There are a lot of very, very, I would say, unhappy players, and players that are struggling, and I don’t think that needs to be the case.”

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic and Pospisil, who won the 2014 Wimbledon men’s doubles title and is currently No. 66 in singles, launched the PTPA around the time of last year’s U.S. Open in August. The group announced this week it appointed an executive director, Adam Larry, and an advisory board; it also received public support from the players’ associations for the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.

The ATP released a statement Wednesday criticizing the effort to create what it called “a separate player entity,” saying such an effort “provides a clear overlap, divides the players, and further fragments the sport.”

Djokovic, Pospisil and Larry all spoke Friday about trying to work with the ATP.

“At some point, I think, they’ll realize when we have this many players that it’s important to collaborate with us. And at some point, if we reach a dead end, obviously we’ll have to figure out the next play, the next strategy,” Pospisil said. “But we’re pretty confident that they’ll begin communicating with us shortly.”

Larry said the group has “hundreds of players” who are members, including more than 70% of the ATP men’s tour, but declined to say how many from the WTA women’s tour already are involved.

Djokovic said he discussed the PTPA with Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, during the French Open, which ended two weeks ago.

“And I’m planning to talk with her again here in London,” along with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, “a disruptor and very successful entrepreneur who has some ideas that he would like to share with us,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic used to be the president, and Pospisil a member, of the ATP Player Council.

“We have tried … the conventional way,” Djokovic said, “and we are trying now the unconventional way.”

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.