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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, August 8, 2019

Rafael Nadal

"We decided to be together out there," said Rafael Nadal of returning to the ATP Player Council with Roger Federer. "I will not be alone there, he will not be alone there."

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer made a percolating pact during a morning meeting over coffee in Indian Wells last March.

Now, the rivals are in alliance to exert positive power on fractured ATP politics.

More: Federer, Nadal Elected to ATP Player Council

Federer, Nadal and veteran Austrian Jurgen Melzer were elected to the ATP Player Council today.

The reigning Rogers Cup champion said he and Federer committed to returning to the Player Council together to try to move the game forward "in a better way." 

"We decided to be together out there," Nadal told the media in Montreal tonight after his straight-sets win over Guido Pella. "If we are there is because we spoke before about being there, no? I will not be alone there, he will not be alone there.

"No, if we are there, both of us I think can be a good power, good help for the sport in some way, hopefully in a better way. Just we are here to help and, of course, to know little bit better what's going on. Last year have been some up and downs in a lot of things. "

The ATP Player Council imploded at Wimbledon as four members—Robin Haase, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Jamie Murray and Daniel Vallverdu—tendered their resignations after the election of Weller Evans to fill the departed Justin Gimelstob's spot on the ATP Board of Directors following a contentious seven-hour meeting.

ATP Player Council president Novak Djokovic and Gimelstob were among those against extending ATP chief Chris Kermode's contract. Nadal, Federer and Stan Wawrinka publicly supported Kermode, whose six-year tenure ends at the conclusion of 2019. Federer said he tried to talk to Djokovic about the issue in Indian Wells, but it never happened.

Instead, Federer and Nadal met for coffee in Indian Wells with the 20-time Grand Slam champion saying the pair are on the same page in exerting a greater influence in political decisions.

"Novak have been there for a while," Nadal said. "We have been there in the past. Is good that players are interested on what's going on in our sport. I think all our careers, Roger and I cared a lot about this sport.

"Is true, as I said before, there is a lot of things that have been going on. We want to be part of it. That's why we are there now."

World No. 1 Djokovic has repeatedly said he welcomes the input of all players, including the two men he's chasing in the all-time Grand Slam race, in the political process.

“We welcome them," Djokovic told the media in Miami. "I welcome them. Everybody welcomes them as anybody else who wants to join the political discussions. I have to remind you that that player council is only part of the structure. We are not part of the board.

"We are not deciding anything that has been voted on later on."

Rafa Nadal
Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Djokovic points out he doesn’t make decisions alone—though his influence is immense.

“Look, I’m just one of the ten players," Djokovic said. "Yes, I’m president of the council, but I’m one of the ten players, and I’m part of 50 percent of the whole structure. So I can’t make any calls by myself. You know, there is no doubt about that.”

The 12-time Roland Garros champion said he hopes to provide his perspective and experience when the ATP Player Council meets in New York later this month. 

"The last couple of times have been some tough moments in terms of discussions, a lot of important things to have to be done," Nadal said. "So just to be little bit more informed about what's going on and try to have a better knowledge of everything, try to give my opinion after more than 15 years on the tour.

"Probably I can give a different perspective of how the game have to be or things that we can add. That's it, no? Is about just trying to help the game to be better. If I am there, I believe that I can be helpful."


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