INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The day after the rather controversial announcement that ATP Tour chief Chris Kermode would be gone at the end of the year, the three biggest names in tennis happened to be within three feet of each other on the practice courts.
It was lunchtime Friday.
And for the second straight day, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had practiced next to each other.
(They had been scheduled to do it again on Saturday at 11 a.m. in an early version of the schedule. But as of late Friday night, Federer’s name was gone).
But this time – a twist.
Replacing Nadal and Andrey Rublev on Practice Court 1 was … Novak Djokovic, the president of the Player Council. Nadal had some strong words for the world No. 1 after the Kermode news.
And in his press conference Thursday, Djokovic retorted in kind.
Through all this, Federer would not weigh in publicly.
Hey guys – have a chat!
It’s been crazy on those front practice courts for the last few days.
But here’s the scenario: Federer has said he has not had an opportunity to speak to Djokovic, as he planned to do in Australia. He wouldn’t weigh on on whether he thought Kermode should say or go.
Nadal has said that Djokovic has not spoken to him about this fairly significant issue of who will lead the ATP. He came in firmly in the “Keep Kermode” camp.
Djokovic, who has significant power both as the president of the Player Council and the best player on the planet right now, is the single most valuable spokesman about WHY some on the council decided Kermode had to go.
But he won’t own it, citing confidentiality issues in terms of his duties to one of the sport’s governing bodies.
But there they all were on Saturday, within spitting distance. Once Nadal and Federer cleared the area (Federer had been hitting with Daniil Medvedev), Djokovic and Fognini took over the court.
Fellas, can we talk?
Tennis.Life arrived at the tail end of this superstar megadose. So there was no way to confirm if they were cordial (as they usually are), ignored each other, had words, or it was business as usual on the practice court.
Probably the last option. There’s a pretty big tournament about to get started for them on the weekend.
We can say with relative certainty that Camp Rafa isn’t particularly thrilled with Camp Djoko.
There’s a fair amount of behind-the-scenes drama going on in the mens’ game at the moment.
So if these guys won’t practice with each other (the fans might not survive that, to be honest; it’s hectic enough that they’re even next to each other), they should probably at least find a private room and have a chin wag, right?
We’ll bring the top-quality scotch and cigars.