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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday September 21, 2023

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic believes players should be getting more out of the myriad betting partnerships that exist in tennis.

Photo Source: Getty

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday September 21, 2023

The presence of betting in tennis has conspicuously grown over the last few seasons. It is not at all uncommon to see betting companies as the leading sponsor of tour events, and they are prominently featured as sponsors of the networks that broadcast the sport as well.

Tennis Express

But that many is not trickling down to the players in a meaningful way, and it needs to change, says Novak Djokovic. The co-founder of the Professional Tennis Players Association spoke in great depth before the US Open on the subject, and the video has been recently released on social media.

As it stands, players are not allowed to wear betting sponsorships on their kits, and if that doesn’t change, Djokovic says that at the very least he would like to see 50 percent revenue share between the players and the tournaments that benefit from betting sponsorships.

“Personally I probably would not get a betting sponsor on my sleeve but I know that probably 95-plus percent of the players would do that,” Djokovic said. “I would support that but if that’s not allowed then what we would deserve to have is the 50 percent of the share that tournament gets from these sponsorship deals with betting houses.”

Though some of the profits will eventually make their way into player pension compensation (not sure what the exact numbers are), Djokovic says it is not enough.

“I know that a pretty significant chunk goes to the player pension and which is something that I always support of course but we have to remind ourselves that you only become eligible for pension when you are 50 or 55 [years old],” Djokovic said. “So a player that retires when he or she is 30 or 35 has to wait for 20-plus years to actually start receiving the benefits from that deal. “I think that it’s obvious that that’s probably one of the biggest sources of income for tennis – the broadcasting rights, the TV rights and the data – I think players are probably not either fully aware or maybe they just are not pushing enough for their fair share from the betting. They are giving much more than they are receiving. They’re literally receiving nothing from it…

“Billions and billions of dollars are circulating on a weekly basis from the tennis tournaments on different level," Djokovic said. "Players are, I feel, in a very underprivileged position in regards to that situation. That’s something that I feel like we need to talk about more. We need to raise the awareness about this issue to the players; in this particular area players are not benefiting at all and giving way too much of their own value into this, and the rest of the tennis ecosystem is obviously profiting from that and we just can’t allow this to happen anymore – this is a very significant value and chunk of the money that is it that is out there for players to get a hold of.”

Djokovic believes that players have focused all their energy on maintaining the integrity of the sport. Not wanting to be associated with gambling and the stigma that might come with it, they’ve blindly left all the profits to the tour.

“That’s where I think the focus should be because being in the player Council of ATP for almost a decade, whenever we would address this subject what would normally surface in the discussion is the integrity,” Djokovic said. “It’s like ‘We’ve got to fight to make sure that the sport stays clean. We got to make sure that the players are not cheating, they’re not betting, they’re not compromised,’ which of course I support and agree with, but there’s kind of a psychological game right that you focus on that and you don’t really talk about the main issue here, that us players need to be aware of.”


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