Novak Djokovic has dismissed suggestion of a rift with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal over the on-going fall-out from Chris Kermode’s removal as ATP chairman.
The Serb, who is the president of the 10-member ATP Player Council, is understood to have been part of a group of players keen for Kermode to leave his position, when his current term finishes at the end of this year. Federer was critical of Djokovic after the world No 1 refused to meet ahead of the vote which saw Kermode ousted as ATP chief when players’ representatives on the ATP Board decided against endorsing an extension of the Englishman’s contract.
Speaking ahead of the Miami Open, Djokovic sought to direct focus onto tennis rather than the sport’s politics and said: “I saw Roger today, we were in the opening ceremony cutting the ribbon on centre court.
“We had a small chat there was no time to talk about the political stuff. That is hopefully something we will have time in the next few days to go through.
“It’s not necessary for you guys to create any tensions between us. In contrary I have a very good relations with both of them.”
Federer said he now saw no rush for the pair to discuss the matter because a decision has been made on Kermode’s future.
“A lot of stuff has been decided already so we’ll see if this week is going to happen or not but we are not chasing each other at this point,” said Federer. “If it happens, it happens.”
Djokovic also invited Federer or Nadal to voice their “extremely important” opinions, but offered a reminder that it was the three players representatives on the ATP board that voted not to renew Kermode’s contract and not the player council.
“The player council is only part of the structure,” said Djokovic. “We are not part of the board or deciding anything that is voted on later on.
“We are in consultation and collaboration with our player board representatives. Board members are the ones voting on what they think is appropriate for the players side.
“Federer and Nadal have been icons of our sport for so many years and their opinions are extremely important to everyone. If they want to be active and part of it, either officially or unofficially, I think it’s only positive news for us.”