Novak Djokovic says he will 'keep going' after US Open win
Novak Djokovic has asked tennis’s governing bodies to decide on one ball to use at tournaments after players complained of suffering injuries due to constant changes. Several stars have blamed heavier balls for a rise in hand, elbow and shoulder problems, prompting Djokovic to intervene.
Djokovic called out the ATP and WTA, telling both bodies to listen to players who are raising an issue over the balls. Different tournaments have their own ball sponsors, meaning the balls might be manufactured by different companies.
The World No 1 wants a unified approach over which balls are used. He said: “There is certainly a connection between frequent injuries of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder with ball changes. I am absolutely in favour of choosing one ball with which we will play all ATP tournaments.
“It is different and more difficult with the Grand Slams because each of the biggest tournaments we play, negotiates separately which sponsor they will have for the balls, but this also happens on the ATP tour. Every tournament has the right to negotiate.
“However, we simply have to find a way to unify, so that in each category on the ATP tour we have one ball to play with, depending on the surface. Sometimes that change of balls happens three times in three weeks depending on where we play, & it affects the health of the players & the joints themselves.
“In that sense, I support the players complaining and asking the ATP to find a way to resolve it. They have to find a solution… I didn’t see that the ATP issued any statement regarding the player’s complaints, and these are things that are incomprehensible to me.
“When you have tennis players from the top who are trying to reach you in public and say, ‘Hey, let’s talk about that topic,’ you have to make a statement, address them and say, ‘Okay, we understand, let’s sit at the table, let’s talk.’ I don’t understand why there is silence from their side.
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“I hope they will realise that there simply must be direct communication. Likewise, it should be publicly announced that they have received this information & are working on it, in the sense that they will see how they can find a solution that is acceptable. Silence will not change anything.”
Canadian star Vasek Pospisil recently said the ball changes were ‘killing’ players’ bodies. He raged: “The balls have been getting incrementally heavier and surprise surprise, it’s killing our bodies. Almost every player I’ve spoken to feels the same way,”
It comes after Marketa Vondrousova claimed she was forced to withdraw from the US Open doubles after suffering an injury caused by heavier balls. The Czech ace said in September: “Yeah, [the injury] is just from the balls. They are very heavy and the season is long, so I feel like, you know, you just, you know, you just have to fight through it.”
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