The inquest into last week’s decision to eject ATP president Chris Kermode began in earnest last night. Roger Federer complained that tennis politics is “in turmoil”, while Rafael Nadal suggested that “the guys who are running the [player] council” – which is chaired by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic – had failed to consult their colleagues.
At a board meeting on Wednesday in Indian Wells, Kermode was refused a contract renewal by the three players’ representatives – who include the controversial broadcaster Justin Gimelstob. Djokovic is also understood to have backed a change of leadership, although he has refused to confirm this, or to offer any explanation for the decision, citing “confidentiality of the [ATP] structure”.
There has been widespread outcry at a move which will leave the men’s tour without effective leadership at a time when – in the words of outgoing All England Club chairman Philip Brook – “there is more unilateral behaviour and discord in our sport among the governing bodies than I’ve seen in 20 years”.
After beating Peter Gojowczyk in his opening match in Indian Wells, Federer was asked for his views. He replied that he was “a little worried” and added that “[Tennis] politics is in turmoil. Certain players disagree, the tournaments and the players are not of the same opinion, and that is the mood – you cannot say explosive, but there is already some uncertainty.”