Novak Djokovic has hosed down suggestions he is pushing to create an independent players union to fight for even more prize money, and denied reports it could lead to tournament boycotts, AFP reports.
The six-time champion looked his old self as he powered to a convincing first round victory at the Australian Open on Tuesday on his return from an elbow injury, saying he felt “great”.
The 12-times Grand Slam winner, seeded an unfamiliar 14, was too strong for American Donald Young, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 51min on Margaret Court Arena.
The Serbian former world number one has been out of action for six months.
British media said the president of the ATP Tour player council had raised the subject at a mandatory player meeting in Melbourne on Friday.
The London Times said he took the stage and suddenly asked that ATP officials and any non-players leave the room, bringing in an Australian professor with specialist knowledge of workplace law.
According to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, Djokovic, who has earned $ 110m in prize money, then outlined his argument that the Grand Slams only pay out about seven per cent of their income.
It said he compared this to American basketball, which pays about 50 percent.
Some reports said the dispute could lead to tournament boycotts if players didn’t get more money, but Djokovic said this was not true.
“That wasn’t a subject I raised, no,” he said.
“You’re talking about boycott, you’re talking about radical decisions to make and move so we can get financial compensations the way we deserve it. But there was no talks about that,” he insisted.
The Times said any new union would break away from the present set-up under the ATP, the men’s governing body, which jointly represents the interests of both the players and tournaments.