It began with almost no fanfare.
Before play got underway at the spectator-less, pandemic-restricted 2020 US Open, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and fellow ATP player Vasek Pospisil announced the creation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), first with a letter to their ATP peers, and then with a photo, posted by Pospisil to social media, featuring several dozens of players who supported the initiative.
The organization was not a union, as players are independent contractors and not ATP employees, but its central mission to “promote, protect and represent the interests of its players” made it seem similar to one.
Few other details were provided at the time, and the lack of involvement from women players drew strong and swift criticism. Ultimately, the announcement left more questions than answers about the PTPA.
But three years later, Djokovic and Pospisil are prouder than ever of the state of their once-fledgling organization.
“The PTPA is definitely making huge strides,” Djokovic told ESPN in an interview last month. “And we’re making sure that the players’ voices and needs are heard. … I mean for me personally, knowing that there’s now a serious team of people in our association working day and night tirelessly to build this association, [to] make sure players have a better livelihood from tennis, is something that relaxes me. … And I think the future is bright.”