It was recently claimed that the PTPA “generates division.” All players associations have faced similar accusations in their formative stages. As the PTPA’s Executive Committee, and as players who are passionate about building player unity for the overall betterment of the sport, we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the PTPA Principles and dispel any distractions from the purpose and power of having a players association in tennis.
The professional tennis industry has been facing division and fragmentation for many years. Until now, the division of tennis players across the men’s and women’s tours, separate Grand Slam tournaments, rankings tiers, singles and doubles players, and different global markets had prevented players from being able to establish true collective power. The PTPA’s goal is to unite all players and utilize their collective strength to advocate on their behalf.
It is important to note that the PTPA is not in competition with player councils, which have their own unique value. This is a matter of providing support and advocacy to every player, regardless of the circumstances or surroundings. Nonetheless, tour-specific player councils are not substitutes for a fully independent players association that operates across the sport.
Some have questioned the necessity of the PTPA, claiming that the tours are already working to address concerns related to player welfare, economic opportunities, and the structure of the sport. These efforts are necessary and appreciated. However, it is important to acknowledge that the tennis ecosystem has had decades to address these issues without a players association, and unfortunately, players and fans have been left behind when compared to their counterparts in other sports.
The PTPA is here to serve as an additional, independent voice and catalyst for change in tennis. We prioritize the interests of the players from a player-first perspective, something that the tours and other stakeholders simply cannot do based on the makeup of their representation and business interests. The PTPA aims to foster solidarity and empower players by advocating for all players across different tours, Grand Slams, rankings, geographical locations, and other factors that have historically divided us. We seek to unite and rally players in enhancing the sport we all cherish.
For professional tennis to continue to progress and flourish, it is imperative that all stakeholders work together to implement new and inventive initiatives, maintain accountability, and improve the game for all involved. This team of stakeholders includes the ATP and WTA as the organizing bodies of the tours, the tournaments as event organizers, the Grand Slams as historic and valuable anchors of the sport, and the PTPA as the players’ voice. Each stakeholder has a unique and important role to play, and we must remain united in our commitment to make tennis the best sport and fan experience possible.
Over the past few months, the PTPA has already made progress by holding productive meetings with various stakeholders, including ATP and WTA officials, player councils, tournament directors, and the Grand Slams. Our goal has been to establish open lines of communication, transparency, and accountability among all parties. We note the already- improved efforts of these parties in seeking ways to promote player welfare and advance the sport, and we are committed to representing the players’ interests in all matters of mutual concern. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with all parties to create positive change within our industry.
We leave all players with a final question: has there ever existed a tennis organization that focused exclusively on supporting and representing all players, regardless of the tour, Grand Slam events, rankings, geographical location, or other factors that have historically caused division? Our Principles begin with the statement, “Tennis is predominantly an individual sport, but that should not mean individual players are isolated and divided.” The central objective of the PTPA is to cultivate and sustain unity among tennis players and to promote the development of the sport that we treasure, by standing against any form of division. Other sports have flourished by having united and vibrant players associations, and we look forward to a bright future for tennis as well.