Federer and Nadal would be ‘welcomed’ back to player council
Executive chairman and president Chris Kermode is leaving the ATP.
While one of the tour’s biggest events, the BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells, plays out on court, behind the scenes the ructions go on following the ousting of executive chairman and president Chris Kermode last week.
After the 10 member player council, led by Novak Djokovic, was deadlocked over whether Londoner Kermode should be given a third term, the decision was left to the player representatives, who voted him out unanimously.
That was against the wishes of the three tournament representatives, who also sit on the board, and the tournament council quickly expressed its “sincere disappointment” at the decision.
Federer and Nadal are among the players who publicly supported Kermode, who has overseen record growth and prize money, and they met over coffee at Federer’s house in Indian Wells to discuss the issue.
Federer, a former council president, also tried to have a conversation with Djokovic but was told the world number one had no time, which the Swiss said was “hard to understand”.
Those who wanted Kermode out have so far declined to explain their position publicly but the player representatives have now issued a statement in response to the many articles written on the subject.
The trio are Englishman Alex Inglot, Tennis Channel executive David Egdes and former player Justin Gimelstob, whose involvement has added further fuel to the fire given he is currently fighting assault charges in the US courts.
The statement read: “Following recent comments, coverage and speculation, the three Player Board Representatives have decided to clarify a few matters.
“While it is somewhat surprising to see the amount of coverage dedicated to this internal governance decision, it has been disappointing to see the divisions and suspicions that have been stoked in that coverage.
“All members of the Player Council, including the 10 current players, as well as the three Player Board Representatives, have spent months discussing and debating the merits and concerns with renewing Chris’ contract.
“It is worth adding at this point that we have heard in recent days that some of our greatest icons are interested in re-entering the political conversations and helping us and the Council guide the next phase of this sport’s growth. This is fantastic news and all of us welcome them and their unique perspectives.
“In the end, however, the Player Council, in consultation with the Player Board Representatives, decided that the Player Board Representatives were best placed to make the decision on behalf of the player membership.
“To be clear, this was not a decision made or driven by one or two individuals’ personal beliefs or agendas. While the Tour has had a strong five years, we felt that the time was right to look to a new leader for the future.”
Given the strong feelings this has generated, finding a candidate mutually acceptable to players and tournaments appears a difficult prospect.