Novak Djokovic made light of a reported rift with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on March 20 saying that he welcomes the decision taken by the two tennis legends regarding the ouster of ATP chairman Chris Kermode.
Djokovic is the current president of the ATP player's council and he was elected to the position ahead of the 2018 edition of the US Open. The Serb was one of those vociferously pushing for the ouster of Kermode who has been voted out of his role as chairman of the ATP and will leave chair at the end of this year. This move was supposedly made without consulting either Federer or Nadal and the Swiss was not too pleased about the situation.
Federer had said that he was not "chasing" Djokovic for an explanation but at Indian Wells made no bones about how it was "hard to understand" why Djokovic turned down a request to discuss the situation. The world number 1, on his part, says that he welcomes the input of the Spaniard and Swiss legends.
"We welcome them as well as anyone else who wants to join the political discussions," Djokovic said ahead of the ATP Miami Open. "The player council is only part of the structure. We are not part of the board or deciding anything. We are in consultation and collaboration with player board representatives."
The Serb said that Nadal and Federer have long been icons of their sport and their opinions are of utmost importance to anyone related to tennis. "Federer and Nadal have been icons of our sport for so many years and their opinions are extremely important to everyone. If they want to be active and part of it, either officially or unofficially, I think it's only positive for us."
"I saw Roger today. We were cutting the ribbon at the opening of the center court. We had a small chat but there was no time to talk about the political stuff. Hopefully we will have time in the next few days to go through some things."
Nadal had earlier stated that a decision as big as the removal of the chairman should have been taken after consulting everyone. The Spaniard was obviously displeased that he was not contacted and could not voice his opinion on the matter. But Djokovic maintained that he has seen no change in the attitude towards him.
"I have not noticed anything from their side or from mine," Djokovic said. "It's not necessary for people to create any tensions or divisions between us. On the contrary, I have a good relationship with both of them. We always respected each other. We are rivals of course so it's hard to be friends. We need an open dialogue and for people to have different opinions. That's what a democratic society is. We all try and be part of that."
The Serb said that he, along with certain other players, had grown frustrated with the system which was constantly failing them and that prompted the change.
"It's frustrating for me personally and other players who have been part of the structure because it has failed us many times," he said. "And many times when top players wanted to be involved and be heard they felt like everything they have said was not really followed through in a way it was supposed to be."