Dan Evans adds his voice to opposition of proposed breakaway tennis union

The leading governing bodies of tennis have jointly spoken out against the proposed breakaway men’s player union.

World number one Novak Djokovic and Canadian player Vasek Pospisil, who have both stood down from the ATP Player Council, are said to be behind the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).

British number one Dan Evans has said that players on the men’s tour have received emails and been requested to vote in favour of joining the PTPA.

However, the ATP, WTA, ITF and all four grand slams have issued a joint statement, stating that now is the time for “greater collaboration”.

The statement, published on Wimbledon’s website, read: “The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our sport, and our way of life, in ways that we could not have imagined. Our thoughts continue to be with all those affected around the world.

“To address this extraordinary crisis, our sport and many within it – the players, coaches, administrators, officials, partners, broadcasters – have come together.

“We have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe return to competition, providing flexibility and fairness through adjustments to rules, and financial support for those who need it most.

“Now more than ever we need collaboration and strong relationships, and we fully support the ATP in its role in representing the best interests of players throughout this process.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that our sport emerges from this crisis with strong foundations on which we can build. It is a time for even greater collaboration, not division; a time to consider and act in the best interests of the sport, now and for the future. When we work together, we are a stronger sport.”

Leading men’s player Rafael Nadal added his weight to the conversation, also calling for unity.

He tweeted: “The world is living a difficult and complicated situation. I personally believe these are times to be calm and work all of us together in the same direction. It is time for unity, not for separation.

“These are moments where big things can be achieved as long as the world of tennis is united. We all, players, tournaments and governing bodies have to work together. We have a bigger problem and separation and disunion is definitely not the solution.”

Evans has said he will not be voting to join the breakaway union, calling it “rushed”.

“For what it is worth I think the ATP do a great job for us and I won’t be signing the sheet of paper they want,” he said. “It is very rushed, I think.

“It is very tough to make a decision like that on some chat over a group chat and a few emails flying around.

“I think it is difficult, I actually had a conversation yesterday with someone in the changing room and then I played devil’s advocate on the ATP’s side and it wasn’t taken very well.

“Those people who think the union should be are set on it and, I must say, are quite passive aggressive towards not being involved in it. It is all about having a vote but it seems that if they don’t like the vote, they don’t like you very much.”