Time for talks on players’ welfare: Djokovic
MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic has called for more consideration of players’ welfare amid growing demands from extra tournaments yet no sign of shorter seasons to help their recovery.
Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion who is also president of the ATP players’ council, spoke after reaching the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday.
“Our sport has become an industry, like most of the other global sports. It’s more business than a sport,” he said.
“Of course, we’re all blessed to have a great financial compensations, great lives. For sure, I’m very grateful for that.
“(But) at the same time what is most important for us is our health and what happens after our career, after you’re 30, 35.
“There are many players that are struggling. They can’t physically walk, run, jog, whatever. I mean, they’re struggling some way or another.”
Djokovic said there was little indication that players were going to have any form of discussion with the sport’s chiefs for a shorter season.
“We’re just adding events, official events, unofficial events. It feels, from a player’s perspective, that you’re kind of always in a rush,” he said.
“You’re always obliged to play the mandatory events. You obviously have always a big challenge to defend (rankings) points because it affects everything.
“You’re always constantly, week after week, being part of that dynamic of our sport, which at times seems a bit too much.”
Djokovic said there should be rational conversations about rules that are imposed and that concern players’ well-being.