Já estamos no terceiro dia do Australian Open, metade dos jogadores que viajou até o outro lado do mundo já está arrumando as malas para voltar – sim, nestes dois dias 64 homens e 64 mulheres já foram eliminados do torneio – e a polêmica que veio à tona no fim de semana, quando Nadal falou mais do que deveria, continua no ar.
Houve suspeita de boicote dos jogadores no Australian Open (os com ranking inferior queriam mais premiação / não entendam que acham que ganham pouco, mas acham que o que ganham comparado ao lucro que os Grand Slams tem é pouco e essa discussão é antiga) e paralelamente a isso, depois de reunião do conselho dos tenistas bem quente, Nadal, em uma coletiva de imprensa, afirmou que não concordava com os pensamentos de Federer, de uma maneira não muito gentil. “”Estoy en desacuerdo con él. Es muy fácil decir yo no digo nada, todo es positivo y quedo como un ‘gentleman’ (caballero) y que se quemen los demás” – disse em espanhol.
A declaração pegou a todos de surpresa, especialmente pela imagem de amigos e respeito que sempre houve entre os dois.
Nadal, vice-presidente do conselho dos jogadores, luta por um ranking que tenha duração de dois anos, como o golfe e não de um ano e principalmente por um calendário com mais semanas de descanso, para preservar o corpo dos jogadores.
Federer, sempre mais saudável, não acredita em ranking bienal e acha que este ano, em que já haverá semana a mais de descanso, já foi um grande avanço.
O espanhol chegou a se desculpar depois, dizendo que não deveria ter feito a declaração aos jornalistas e sim diretamente a Federer. Os dois se entenderam, mas o assunto continua sendo notícia e tenho tentado ler tudo o que encontro de qualidade para me aprofundar mais sobre o tema.
O interessante é que Federer, o Presidente do Conselho dos jogadores e Nadal, o vice, parece que tem conseguido discutir assuntos e fazer bom uso do papel que tem. É raro contar com os nomes deles nesta posição. Antes de Federer, por exemplo,Ivan Ljubicic era o Presidente do Conselho.
Entre algumas matérias interessantes que andei lendo, esta foi uma que se destacou, em que os irmãos Bob e Mike Bryan, falam do ocorrido e afirmam que apesar de tudo, os jogadores do circuito nunca estiveram tão unidos.
Reproduzo aqui o texto do jornal australiano The Age, desta quarta, em Melbourne.
Players fight for the right to a fair deal
It’s hard to sympathise with millionaire tennis stars, but they have a point.
IT CAN get really tough when players start talking publicly about pay and conditions, because it’s not really what the fans want to be hearing about.
They want to see us at their tournaments, they want to see everyone play, and they don’t have much sympathy for our personal lives or our families and friends, which is understandable.
We’re lucky. We travel to great cities, we’re well paid and we have one of the best jobs in the world, so we try not to open our mouths about a lot of that stuff. But we have some interesting times ahead because the players are more united than they have been in a while.
For a long time, it was impossible to get anything done, because all the players wanted different things, but that’s starting to change.
By the end of the year, everyone’s exhausted. We’ve been on tour now for 13 years, and we’ve had three-week off-seasons for that whole time.
Mike has a big house, a pool and a volleyball court that he doesn’t get to use – he just gets the bills, so he doesn’t think he’s getting much bang for his buck there.
This year we’re going to have a few extra weeks off, which is a really smart move by the ATP, because with how things have stood for the last 20 years or so, players haven’t really had a chance to work on weaknesses.
You don’t want to change, say, your serve, and go straight into a tournament. You need some time at home to work on things, to hit the weights hard rather than just try and maintain where you’re at.
Playing so much tennis takes a physical toll too. It puts a lot of pressure on the top guys especially. That’s why Rafael Nadal has been so outspoken, because if he’s going to get back up to No. 1 in the world, he just has to keep playing tennis. He can’t afford to miss any events.
That’s where the rankings system comes into it, because if you get injured, your ranking drops straight away.
Sam Querrey got hurt for three months and dropped outside the top 100. If we’ve had injuries, we’ve kind of had to push through them, take three or four anti-inflammatories before a match and keep playing. And that would be pretty standard, because everyone has something. Nobody’s ever 100 per cent, but they could be with a three- or four-month off-season.
In a perfect world, we’d have the US Open, have the tour finals for the top guys, then shut things down. As far as the rankings go, look at golf: their rankings are done over a two-year period, which means Tiger Woods can take a year off, come back and still be No. 1.
We have a player council of 11 players, and every group of players is represented on that. There’s a couple of doubles players, there’s someone who looks out for the top players, and players for, say, the top 25 and the lower-ranked guys as well. Everyone has someone they can talk to. In the past it hasn’t really worked too well.
Everyone’s had their own agendas. When you’re talking about cutting the schedule, the claycourters don’t want to lose any of their events, and the hardcourt guys are the same.
We have mandatory meetings that every player has to go to – you get fined if you don’t turn up – and the guys on the council get together eight or so times a year, whether they meet or have conference calls and go through what they’re all thinking. The meeting on the weekend was apparently pretty fiery.
But it’s cool that we have Rafa, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on the council together – the big three. They might not be on the exact same page at the moment, but that’s going to happen. They’re uniting the players and making sure we have a voice.
They don’t need to do it – they’re millionaires, they’re great players and they could just focus on their tennis, but they’re trying to make the game better and take it into the future, and we’re becoming a stronger group because of it. We’re less divided than we used to be, and that will hopefully make it easier for things to get done.
We won’t be around when it happens, but we want things to be better for the young guys coming through in the future.
We have friends who’ve had hip replacements at the age of 40, and we don’t want guys to be limping around when they’re 25.