AAP Tennis

Nadal, Dimitrov support Kermode at ATP

By AAP Newswire

World No.2 Rafael Nadal has thrown his support behind embattled ATP tour chief Chris Kermode staying in his position as leader of the men's tennis.

Nadal also called for the tour to show its generous side, and find ways to be charitable to the countries of players who have made strong contributions to tennis.

The Spaniard dismissed Australian James Duckworth on the opening day of the Open, beating the Sydneysider 6-4 6-3 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena.

After the match he joined with Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios in calling for Kermode to remain at the top of the men's game.

"I believe that Chris probably did some good work out there, and I don't see him doing negative things or enough negative things to not continue in the position," he said.

"That today probably he knows all the situation of the world of tennis better than a new person that should come and will lose a period of time knowing all the things.

"I believe that is not good to have changes all the time, because is difficult to develop a good project of work if we have changes every three, four years. Is difficult."

A growing band of players, including players' council boss Novak Djokovic and member Vasek Pospisil, are pushing for change at the ATP to distribute more funding to players.

The redistribution would be targeted to players outside the top 50, who believe they are missing out on the sport's largesse.

The ATP council is likely to make a decision on Kermode's future in the next month, with the British executive's term due to end later in 2019.

Another first-day winner, 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov, joined with Nadal to support Kermode.

"Changing Chris Kermode would be one of the biggest mistakes," he said.

"Tennis has never been in such a good place."

Nadal did share a gripe with ATP officials; a failure to act to support his home island of Mallorca after flooding last October that killed 12 people.

"I would love to see from the ATP some support to the people from Mallorca. I did some donation to the people," he said.

"If something happens to the country of one of the players that did, in my opinion, important things for this sport ... talking about Roger, Novak, Andy ... I would love to see the organisation that is running the sport supporting that people.

"Didn't happen in my case. I can't be happy with that."