Novak Djokovic has been heading the campaign for a new player association, the “Professional Tennis Player Association (PTPA)”. The organisation is the first player only association since 1972. However, the organisation seems similar to those in 1972, as it is a men’s only organisation. The guts of 50 years seem to have been forgotten as the female players have been excluded yet again.
In 1973, female tennis player Billie Jean King fought for a victory over Bobby Riggs, a spokesperson against female tennis players. On the court, both athletes were testing their skill, but off-court the battle was more complex. The match was essential for the acceptance of women’s tennis around the world, and from that day, it would seem as if tennis would be changed forever.
But has it? Why has Djokovic and 60 other players started something that does not include their female counterparts?
The irony of the situation is that the first meeting of the PTPA was at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre in New York. Yes, the stadium named after an iconic female player. We wonder how Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation, feels about the exclusion of female tennis players from this new organization.
Former English professional tennis player Sarah Borwell, shares her thoughts on the organisation stating it is “disorganized at best, little thought into how this will actually work & ego driven”.
Disorganized at best, little thought into how this will actually work & ego driven. Cue the backtracking as things start to unravel.
— Sarah Borwell (@sarahborwell) August 30, 2020
Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal. Andy Murray. Three of the biggest names in tennis have stood against the organization with one of the main reasons being the lack of female inclusion.
Nadal commented “I personally believe these are times to be calm and work all of us together in the same direction. It is time for unity, not for separation.”
Murray, a proud feminist, stated “The fact that the women aren’t part of it, I feel like that would send a significantly – well, just a much more powerful message personally if the WTA were on board with it as well. That’s not currently the case.”
He is building his reputation as a powerful advocate for female tennis players having previously commented “Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.”
In relation to these notable players not supporting the PTPA, Djokovic said “Of course I would love to have Roger and Rafa on board. Of course I would love to have all the players on board. But I understand. I truly understand that, you know, some of them have different opinions and they don’t think the time is right. Again, I think the time is right.”
Is it one step forward, two steps back in Tennis? Read “It’s 2020, Sexism In Tennis Has To Stop”.