A growing conflict between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic threatens to shadow the first days of the 44th edition of the prestigious BNP Paribas Open is a professional tennis tournament played at Indian Wells, California.
The world number four, Roger Federer had revealed in an interview that Novak Djokovic, in his capacity of a president of the Players Council, had not make time to meet the Swiss maestro before the vote that defined the future of the ATP executive chairman and president, Chris Kermode.
Federer stated he tried to talk to the world number one to discuss the situation before the vote. The Serbian suggested they would see each other the day after, but the meeting never took place, and the tournament started.
Federer did not hide his disappointment publicly saying that the situation was hard for him to understand. In Federer's view, Djokovic certainly had a lot to do with the Kermode's departure.
The Swiss also pointed out that it was vital for him to grasp why this happened and what is on the agenda now. He was also curious to understand what Kermode did not seem to have done properly in his job so far.
The 20-time major champion admitted he would have supported Kermode to keep his position. Furthermore, Federer did not exclude the possibility to return in tennis politics, motivated by the case with Kermode.
Following the Thursday's vote, the ATP announced Kermode would leave its position at the end of the year. The long-running conflict between Novak Djokovic and Chris Kermode are not new for tennis insiders. In Djokovic's view, Kermode did not do enough for players outside the elite levels.
What do numbers say? The low-ranking participants to Wimbledon this year would earn nearly $51,000 just for making the first round, which is a 66 percent increase for first-round losers in the six years since Kermode is in charge.
Furthermore, since Kermode took office in 2014, ATP has experienced record commercial growth, internal sources commented. They also highlighted that under Kermode, Wimbledon has increased prize money each one of those years. The same goes for most of the slam and Masters tournaments.
For instance, since Kermode's arrival on top of ATP, the prize money for Indian Wells tournament increased from $5.2 million to over $9 million this year.
Roger Federer was not the sole top player to react negatively on Kermode's departure. Stan Wawrinka said he was ''sad and disappointed'' to hear the news. In his view, Kermode did ''an amazing job for every player, for every fan, and everyone around tennis.''
What do you think? Do you believe that this is the first step to Federer's comeback to tennis politics?