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The Telegraph

Screaming rows and threats to sue: How a humdrum tennis match turned ugly

The rising rigidity between the ATP Tour and a bunch of dissatisfied gamers got here to a head on Wednesday night time as Vasek Pospisil — the chief of the dissenting group — exited the Miami Open amid an expletive-filled rant at chair umpire Arnaud Gabas. Unusually for an offended participant, Pospisil was not complaining a couple of line-call — however slightly in regards to the ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi. “An hour and a half yesterday, the chair of the ATP f—ing screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players,” mentioned Pospisil, after dropping the primary set towards the USA’s McKenzie McDonald. “For an hour and a half. The leader of the ATP. Get him out here. F—— a——.” Gabas replied: “That’s enough. If you need to say something to him, then outside this court.” To which Pospisil mentioned, “Why am I here? If you wanna default me I’ll gladly sue this whole organisation.” Men’s grand slams have to be three units – it’s the solely solution to save Roger Federer and Andy Murray The outburst got here after a number of days of conferences had failed to provide a united platform from which the gamers may problem the ATP management. There have been gripes aplenty — about the whole lot from prize cash in Miami, which is down by 60 per cent, to the frozen rankings system and the protocols throughout the tournaments’ numerous bio-bubbles. As ever in tennis, although, it’s one factor to determine the issues and one other to repair them. This sport is a nest of interlocking techniques — which is perhaps a superb factor if these techniques labored collectively seamlessly. Unfortunately, as the previous ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers mentioned this week, “Everyone distrusts everyone else. To use a very eloquent Wordsworthian expression, it’s a ratf—.” Telegraph Sport understands Gaudenzi made this very level to Pospisil when the 2 males met at a gamers’ assembly on the basketball court docket in Miami on Tuesday night time, with an viewers that additionally included ATP chief government Massimo Calvelli. Gaudenzi and Calvelli had been at dinner after they had been referred to as in to see Pospisil by a few gamers. According to sources, the assembly may be summed up as Pospisil itemizing his grievances, after which Gaudenzi difficult him to provide the options and asking if he actually thought that tennis’s deep-seated points — which had been spelled out this week in a Bloomberg report — could possibly be so simply solved. (The Bloomberg report prompt that the important thing downside lies in tennis “accounting for only 1.3 per cent of the total value of global sports TV and media rights, a smaller share than golf, hockey, or cricket”.) Who got here off higher or worse from the basketball-court assembly shall be a matter of opinion. Almost everybody in tennis agrees the ATP management have been all however invisible throughout the Covid disaster. On the opposite hand, Pospisil appears to have been struggling to create a convincing different to the ATP’s admittedly distant means of doing issues, and his explosion on the court docket can hardly be described as statesmanlike. As for the assembly itself, the Open Court web site reported: “Gaudenzi and company really went after him [Pospisil]. They called him things like ‘ignorant’, ‘uneducated’ – lovely stuff like that.” Open Court reporter Stephanie Myles added that Pospisil was reportedly in tears afterwards and was nonetheless “shaken up” when he went on court docket. Pospisil posted an apology after the match on social media. “I want to sincerely apologise for my behaviour on the court in Miami earlier today,” he mentioned. “I disrespected the game I love and for that I am truly sorry. By way of explanation, I felt deeply unnerved during a meeting between players and ATP executives last night, and I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today.”

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