50 Years of ATP | Top 3 players become ATP Player Council members

22nd August 2022

The top three players, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, took a leadership role by becoming ATP Player Council members, with Federer as president.

Rivals for supremacy on the court, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic became political allies off it in an attempt to take more control over the direction of tennis in 2008. This was a groundbreaking historical moment as it was the first time the organisation's top three players joined the council in the same two-year period. 
This was an incredibly unusual move back when the game stars were usually preoccupied with hitting big forehands and maximising their significant earnings rather than addressing the sport's broader issues. It threw men’s tennis into a period of uncertainty. All three at the time were highly critical of Etienne De Villiers', ATP's executive chairman's leadership abilities. They were hoping to gain control back themselves and have their views heard. This move ultimately led to his resignation in December of that year. 

Nadal & Federer are still vital council members to this day, helping to set the direction of ATP's future. However, Djokovic resigned as President of the council in 2020 due to alternative interests.

Explore the ATP Media archive