Former world No.1 Rafael Nadal has said he is ‘disappointed’ about the lack of communication he received from the ATP Players council over calls for the removal of ATP CEO Chris Kermode.
Last week it was confirmed that Kermode’s tenure at the governing body of men’s tennis would come to an end later this year after failing to win support of the three players’ representatives. A decision that has generated a mixed response. Earlier this year Canadian player Vasek Pospisil sent an email calling for ‘a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests.’ Novak Djokovic, who is the president of the council, has been named as a key driving force in calls for change and reportedly voted for Kermode’s removal. Although the results of that vote are confidential and the Serbian has remained neutral about the development when speaking to media in Indian Wells.
Whilst the Players’ council are separate to the three individuals that decided Kermode’s fate, 11-time French Open champion Nadal has criticised their handling of the situation. The Players council issues advisory decisions to the board of directors. Members are elected by their peers.
“I can’t say much about this, because as you know, I am outside of the politics, and I’m being honest. Nobody (from the council) came to me to explain why this stuff happened.” Nadal said following his 6-1, 6-1, win over Jared Donaldson at the BNP Paribas Open.
“But at the same time, of course, I am disappointed that nobody came and explained why, what’s the real reason of we don’t have Chris continuing running our sport.”
Nadal is a vocal supporter of Kermode, who has held the CEO position since 2014. Previously describing his removal as ‘counterproductive.’ Clearly bemused by the situation, the Spaniard said he never even received an email or text from a member of the council concerning a potential change in leadership.
“Normally, they have to ask the players about what they think to make a crucial decision like this one, and I really hope that they did with the rest of the players. If they did it, is great. It was not my case.” He said.
“Nobody text me to speak about or to ask me about what’s my thoughts about that decision.”
Other players have also expressed their disappointment. Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka said he was ‘really sad and disappointed’ about the situation. A sentiment echoed also by figures such as Nicolas Mahut, Lleyton Hewitt, Magnus Norman and Thomas Johansson.
“Probably the guys who are running the council, they didn’t do the right job, because when they are there (on the board) they are there representing us, so normally they have to ask what our opinion is. Not in every small decision, but in big decisions. In my opinion, this one was a big decision.” Stated Nadal.
Kermode will continue his position as CEO until later this year when a replacement will be named.
Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell’Olivo)