Roger Federer has called for the grand slams to significantly up their levels of prize money and said players are ‘bored’ of having to push the issue.
The situation has been thrust into the spotlight at the Australian Open after Novak Djokovic initiated a players-only meeting on the eve of the tournament to discuss various matters.
Federer was president of the ATP player council, the same position Djokovic now holds, in 2012 when there was talk of a boycott if the major tournaments did not take action.
That was followed by significant increases across the board, particularly for players losing in the early rounds, who often struggle to make a decent living from the sport.
First-round losers this week will take home 60,000 Australian dollars (£34,500) while the winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles will both earn four million dollars (£2.3million).
But, with grand slam revenues rocketing, Federer believes players need to band together again to fight for a greater share of the pie.
After beating Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round of the Australian Open, he said: “Yes, they could definitely pay more, no doubt about it. They know that. We’re not partners. We’re just players. It’s always hard to rally.
“We had a good agreement, in my opinion, that made the grand slams happy, the players pretty happy. It seems like that has run its course.
“The moment that happens, there’s not the same increases any more, so players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort. The grand slams know that. They will only react when we do so. We’re ready to do it. It’s going to be the same process over and over again.
“It’s a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it’s not quite where it’s supposed to be.
“But you can’t go from here to right there in a day. We know that. We just hope they realise and they do appreciate us maybe more all the time and not just in waves.
“We have good contacts with the slams. It’s all good. But it’s going to be a never-ending story.”
It has been reported that Djokovic raised the prospect of forming a players’ union separate from the ATP.
Federer believes the important thing is that the players come together to discuss such matters.
“I think what’s good is that all the players are talking to one another,” he said. “When the players don’t talk, nothing gets done.
“It’s not something we can do every day. We don’t have the players in the same room at all times. We’ve just got to make a conscious effort to get together and talk to one another.”
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