Novak Djokovic Praises ATP Negotiators for US Open Agreements
epa03628211 Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot during his semi-final match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, USA, 16 March 2013. Del Potro won the match and advanced to the final. EPA/PAUL BUCK |
Novak Djokovic has given strong praise to ATP negotiators after the organization struck a deal which will revolutionize the chaotic US Open schedule as well as offer a prize packet of $50 million by 2017.
“We have been talking with them for quite a while now, and it’s a positive step to see the prize money increase,” said the Serb, former Player Council member, the body headed by president Roger Federer. “It’s a good response, and it’s a reaction from US Open towards the players’ demands and desires.”
The ATP stepped up the prize money arms race as the Open blinked first in negotiations over conditions at the most controversial of the four Grand Slams. The traditional Sunday final will return in 2015 after two years of Monday finals.
The event is also guaranteeing an unprecedented $50 million prize money payout by 2017. That would double the prize pot from 2012 and offer 33 million at the coming edition. It now puts the ball in the court of the French Open and Wimbledon, which have not announced their prize packages for 2013.
“As I said before, we all have to stay united. We all have to try not just as players, but also the people from the tournament side to work towards improving this game and the world of tennis,” said Djokovic, who begins play in the second round against Czech Lukas Rosol, who beat Gilles Muller 7-5, 6-4.
“Grand Slams are huge competitions. They are over two weeks long and there are a lot of benefits. Without players, those benefits are not possible. So I’m sure that a lot of players will be happy with this prize money increase.”
Djokovic said that the Monday final idea – the last five editions in New York have had to be played on Monday due to rainy weather – was always a non-starter. “Personally, I am not happy with a Monday final. But it is the way it is for next two years. I think we have to accept it, and then after that, it all goes back to normal hopefully for Sunday final like every Grand Slam has.”
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