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Djokovic: Rafa, Roger Rejected PTPA Request

The Big 3 are all pursuing Grand Slam glory, but are on decidedly different paths when it comes to ATP politics.

Novak Djokovic, who stepped down as ATP Player Council president to form the the new Professional Tennis Players Association in August, revealed he approached fellow Big 3 champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer asking them to join the PTPA.

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The world No. 1 says his requested was rejected by his rivals.

"Before we created the PTPA, I have spoken to both Federer and Nadal and they did not want to take part in it," Djokovic told the Serbian media as he trains for his return in Vienna next week. "I am not criticizing anybody. It is a democratic world we live in, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

"Would I love it for them to join us? Of course I would, but we will keep going in our efforts to form an organization that everyone deserves."

Kevin Anderson has succeeded Djokovic as ATP Player Council president, while former No. 1 Andy Murray has rejoined Nadal and Federer on the Player Council board.

Both Nadal and Federer publicly called for "unity" in response to the Djokovic-led PTPA's launch in August during the US Open and have said new ATP CEO Andrea Gaudenzi, who began his four-year term on January 1st, should be given adequate time to try to enact his vision.

Tennis Express

Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic believes the PTPA is vital because after years of trying to enact change within the system as ATP Player Council president, he realized the system denies players’ power.

“For a lot of decisions to be made, you need the super majority of votes, and if you don't attain that, then there is no voting,” Djokovic said of the ATP’s structure adding players “want more power, more voice and they don’t have it.”

The reigning Australian Open champion said he hopes his fellow Big 3 rivals will eventually join the PTPA, but says the new union will move on with or without Federer and Nadal.

"They publicly expressed their refusal and I will not criticize them for it," Djokovic said. "They are free to join or not. We'll move on."

Photo credit: Australian Open Facebook