Novak Djokovic "denied reports of a potential Australian Open boycott, rejecting suggestions he is greedy and money-driven," according to the HERALD SUN. The ATP Player Council president and former world No. 1 described reports of demands for more money and a possible boycott as "a little bit exaggerated." He said, "You've taken things out of the context. I saw that you've portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott. But I respect your freedom and decisions to do that. But not much of what you have wrote is true." Referring to a player meeting on Friday, when he cleared the room of officials, Djokovic said, "We players just wanted to have us players talk about certain topics" (HERALD SUN, 1/16). In Sydney, Sam McClure reported while Djokovic admitted that there was a portion of the meeting where only players were present, he "shut down any talk of a potential boycott" in '19. Djokovic: "We wanted to use this opportunity to speak about certain subjects and see how everyone reacts to that and see what the opinions are. There was no talk about boycotts or anything like that. I've never intentionally thrown anyone out of the room, everything was done in a normal and polite way" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/16).
SOCIAL REACTION: In London, Kevin Mitchell reported former player Andy Roddick, an advocate for "more equable distribution of prize money in the game," referenced the players' involvement in the ATP -- which also acts for tournament directors (GUARDIAN, 1/16).
It’s been a good idea for a long time :) Impossible for an entity to represent both sides of a negotiation. I’m amazed it’s not talked about more .... https://t.co/AqeyxpTjwH— andyroddick (@andyroddick) January 16, 2018
Totally agree. What about an umbrella union that represents men and women? That would give the players a much stronger voice to challenge the Slams and the joint ATP/WTA events. Better together. https://t.co/yFI4LfK7P5— judy murray (@JudyMurray) January 16, 2018
BARGAINING POWER: In London, Simon Briggs reported Djokovic's denial is "at odds with the widespread understanding" that a professor of law, specializing in labor relations, was present at the meeting. The "central thrust" of Djokovic's argument is understood to be that the ATP cannot coordinate strike actions, and thus leaves the players "lacking in bargaining power," whereas a separate union would have that option (TELEGRAPH, 1/16). The AP's Justin Bergman reported world No. 4 Alexander Zverev said that Djokovic "did most of the talking at the meeting," which was attended by all of the top male players at the season's first major. Zverev: "I don't really have a position (on the subject) because that was the first time it was mentioned. Everybody listened to it. That's about it" (AP, 1/16). In Auckland, Cheree Kinnear reported Serbian tennis player Victor Troicki said that it was "just ridiculous" how small a percentage players received from grand slam revenue. When asked if he had an opinion on the matter, Troicki said, "I do. I do. I have an opinion but I think what happens inside the union with the players should stay inside, and we'll see." Roger Federer was said to be in favor of the "status quo" and has reportedly said that he was "comfortable players were receiving enough" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 1/16).