“Need One 100%”: Reilly Opella Gives Dominic Thiem’s Agent’s Example, Backs Novak Djokovic’s PTPA

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There is still a deliberation going on over the need for a players’ association in tennis. While many experts argue that this is a vague idea, many players are in favor of having a union for themselves. Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil formed the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association) for that purpose only. However, it has not earned any official status as of now.

Recently, young American player Reilly Opelka opened up his views on the issue. He believed that there was a need for a union like the PTPA.

“I mean, we need one 100%. If you look at the issues, how many conflicts of interests we have, in the ATP structure, it’s insane… You can’t be on the board of the ATP and you can’t be a tournament director and then a player’s agent. That can’t happen. That absolutely can’t happen,” said the 23-year-old player.

It is quite clear that Opelka was upset with the current ATP structure. He raised some serious questions about its board and believed that it was very rigid in nature.

“Wants to get rid of all these conflicts of interest”-Reilly Opelka on PTPA founded by Novak Djokovic

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his semi-final match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Toby Melville

Opelka expressed his opinions and said that there was an urgent need for a union like the PTPA. He emphasized that it could end all the possible conflicts of the ATP.

“There are like so many conflicts of interest, you know, for a big organization… and PTPA wants to get rid of all these conflicts of interest,” added the American player.

The American further took the example of the agent of Dominic Thiem to describe the problem in the ATP. He raised questions over his appointment in the ATP board when he was already a personal agent.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his semi-final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

“You know Dominic Thiem’s agent… for example, owns a tournament in Austria. He owns Vienna, so how could he, and he’s on the board in ATP, so essentially he has a vote on prize money… I really doubt he abuses that ’cause he is a good guy, but just the fact that’s there is there is wrong,” concluded Opelka.

The future of the PTPA is still uncertain after both Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil decided to go back to the ATP. Players recognize that their interests are not safe with the ATP but are not willing to say so openly. It will be intriguing to see how far this fight for the PTPA goes in the future.

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