Article

Djokovic hits back at Australian Open boycott suggestions

16 January 2018 10:06

Novak Djokovic has dismissed reports he proposed a boycott of next year's Australian Open and a players' union to break away from the ATP.

Former world number one Djokovic made his competitive return to action after a six-month lay off with an elbow injury by outclassing Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4 in the first round in Melbourne.

However, Djokovic - the president of the ATP Tour Player Council - has made more headlines off the court in recent days after it was claimed he used a mandatory players' meeting on Friday to discuss again the distribution of money generated by grand slam events.

Some reports even claimed the Serb, flanked by a lawyer, had raised the possibility of players missing the season's first major in 2019 to make a stand.

But Djokovic, a six-time champion in Melbourne, insists the reports have been "taken out of context".

"No boycott, no," he told a news conference.

"I saw that some of you have written a story that has been a little bit exaggerated. You've taken things out of context. 

"I saw that you've portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott. But I respect your freedom and decisions to do that. 

"But not much of what you have written is true. What happened is that we, the players, just wanted to have us players talk about certain topics. I don't think there is anything unhealthy about that. 

"We get together, a hundred players get together two or three times in a whole year. This is one of the places where we get together. We wanted to use this opportunity to speak about certain subjects and see how everyone reacts to that, and I guess see what opinions are. 

"There were no decisions being made. There were no talks about boycott or anything like that. That's all I can say really. Nothing much else to add."

On the idea of unionising, he added: "I know that you guys are trying to take this forward several steps. 

"Obviously you're talking about [a] union, you're talking about boycott, you're talking about radical decisions to make and move so we can get financial compensations the way we deserve it. 

"But there were no talks about that. Again, I'm saying it was subjects that we never get a chance to talk about in such a large group. That's all it was. 

"There was up to a hundred players in the room. We talked about things that we talked about. 

"That's all. In the future we might have more of these kind of, you know, get-togethers just to see where we are. 

"You never get to hear what majority of the players really think. So that was the whole purpose of us getting together."

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