The first Grand Slam of the year commenced in Melbourne today with the top seeds taking to court in order to begin their campaigns, all hoping for the Australian Open glory.
Rafael Nadal had a brilliant outing on the opening day as he secured a straight sets win over James Duckworth, with the scoreline 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.
However, focus shifted elsewhere for the Spaniard afterwards as he appeared to hit out at Novak Djokovic over the future of the executive chairman and president of the ATP, Chris Kermode.
Nadal indicated his displeasure of not being approached by a member of the ATP players council - of which Djokovic is president - for his opinion on the extension of Kermode’s tenure.
Kermode is set to conclude his term at the end of 2019 season, although council members are still split on whether he should be continuing in his role as CEO.
Djokovic is believed to be leaning towards appointing a new president in charge from the next season, while, Nadal didn’t hesitate in disclosing his support for Kermode. Furthermore, the official vote on the council’s decision has been postponed till later this year.
Shortly after his victory, the world number two conveyed his stance on the issue, admitting that he expected to be consulted before a major overhauling.
“Being honest, I am not in the council anymore, and at the same time, nobody from the council side came to me and asked me my opinion,” said Nadal, per The Metro.
“So I can’t have a real opinion on all of this, because no one of my representatives came to me and asked me if I am happy with the president or not.
“Was the first information I had that maybe Chris is not continuing. No, no, I didn’t hear about it, but I suppose if something, some crucial decisions like this, I don’t know, I understand that somebody from the council should come to me and ask my position. But I know is not always the right thing and easy thing to do.”
The 2009 Australian Open champion then insisted that the council members should be coming to him rather than the other way around.
He said: “I don’t have to go. He’s [Djokovic] in the council or all the players are on the council, they have to come to me. That’s why they are in the council and I am not in the council anymore.
“When I was in the council, that was me I have to go to the players and ask their opinions. It’s not my work anymore.”
Nadal asserted the need for a long-term vision rather than a short-term approach on the matter, which would otherwise jeopardize the project undertaken over the last three or four year period.
“By the way, if they want to read my opinion, I tell you, I think I believe in the projects at long term, not short term, as everybody knows in my life,” he added.
“And because of that, I believe that is not good to have changes all the time, because is difficult to develop a good project of work if we have changes every three, four years. It’s difficult.”
Roger Federer also admitted earlier that he encountered a similar scenario during his pre-tournament press conference, where he had to consult the rest of the ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray to gain more clarity on the issue.
Nadal concluded by saying: “In terms of the president thing, I believe it will be good for the sport if he continues.”