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Djokovic Clears Up Players-Union Controversy, Beats Donald Young In First-Round @Australian Open 2018

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Donald Young of the United States during round one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 16 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

An alleged players-only meeting at the start of the Australian Open was the talk of the tennis world this past weekend. According to Novak Djokovic, however, that should not have been the case. Instead, he insisted things got blown out of proportion by the press.

 

According to The Daily Mail, Djokovic used the annual meeting to encourage fellow ATP players to work together and demand more money at all tournaments–including the four majors. There were reportedly talks of a players-only union and even a boycott of the 2018 Australian Open if prize-money demands are not met.

 

Not so, per Djokovic. The 12-time Grand Slam champion cleared the air on Tuesday, emphasizing that there is no players-only union or potential boycott in the works. He merely expressed a desire for more prize money for all players, from the top of the rankings to the bottom.

 

“Some of you have written a story that has been a little bit exaggerated,” Djokovic told the media at his press conference following a first-round win over Donald Young. “You’ve taken things out of context. I saw that you’ve portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott. I respect your freedom and decisions to do that. But not much of what you have [written] is true. What happened is that we just wanted to talk about certain topics. I don’t think there is anything unhealthy about that.

 

“I know that you guys are trying to take this forward several steps,” Djokovic said. “Obviously you’re talking about union, you’re talking about boycott, you’re talking about radical decisions … so we can get financial compensations the way we deserve. But there [were] no talks about that.”

 

Rafael Nadal chimed in, as well.

 

Rafael Nadal of Spain attends a media conference after winning his first round match against Victor Estrella Burgos at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2018. EPA-EFE/MARK CRISTINO

“Every year here in Australia, there is talks about new things,” the world No. 1 added. “There is always an issue here in Australia, no? I really believe that there is plenty of time later on the year to speak about things. But now is the moment, for me personally, to play tennis, to play tennis and to try my best on court. That’s all really.”

 

As for what transpired on the court, Djokovic returned from a six-month layoff and was his typical self in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Young. Young did extremely well to save five match points at 3-5 in the third set and hold for 4-5, but a red-hot Djokovic was ultimately too good.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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