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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 17:16 GMT
Woodbridge denies player revolt
Lleyton Hewitt
World number one Hewitt has been critical of the ATP
Players' representative Todd Woodbridge has refuted Wayne Ferreira's claims that the majority of the men's ATP Tour are about to form a breakaway tennis union.

Australian Open semi-finalist Ferreira claimed many players were unhappy with the way the sport's governing body was running the game.

But Woodbridge, the ATP's player council vice president, said: "Nobody that I know of has agreed to sign to another organisation.

"I've spoken to about 90% of the field here [at the World Indoor Tournament] and none of those players are backing Wayne's idea. There are no factions internally.

"All you would be doing is taking the same players to go and run what's already in place with the ATP. So he would be crazy."

I've spoken to almost every player from pretty much every nation in the world and they all feel exactly the same way
Wayne Ferreira

Ferreira' s group is thought to be trying to recruit world number one Lleyton Hewitt, who has been vocal in his criticism of the ATP, which represents male tennis players.

And it aims to set up a rival body called the International Men's Tennis Association in March.

A letter from Ferreira was distributed to players at the Australian Open outlining concerns that the ATP was not representing the best interests of men's tennis.

The letter said players "were frustrated by poor information from the ATP regarding the business of tennis including prize money and pension issues."

Unrest among the players increased in 2001 with the collapse of sports marketing group ISL, with whom the ATP had entered into a 750m deal.

"It's been a slow process, gradually getting worse and obviously ISL really affected it quite a lot," said Ferriera.

"There seem to be a lot more issues each year. The players all have stuff they're unhappy about, and everybody goes to the ATP and tells them their problems.

"But they kind of get pushed underneath the carpet straightaway. It has got to the stage where everybody's sort of annoyed.

"We need to get something together where all the players can be in a group and work together and get these issues resolved."


Ferreira has been working with Laurence Tielman of Belgium and lawyers Jeff Weingart and Rob Freeman to set up the International Men's Tennis Association.

The group is planning an official launch during the Miami Masters Series event in March and Ferreira claims to have found support from a number of players.

"I've spoken to almost every player from pretty much every nation in the world and they all feel exactly the same way," Ferreira said.

"There's nobody that has turned around and said to me, 'I don't believe what you're doing is a good thing. I believe the ATP is doing a good job. You're wasting your time.'"

Wimbledon champion Hewitt was incensed by the ATP's decision to fine him 125,000 in 2002 when he failed to carry out a contractual interview in Cincinnati.

"There are people at the ATP who don't treat you the way they should," Hewitt said in November.

"I wouldn't say we were on the greatest of terms."

Links to more Tennis stories


$1.2bn tennis deal in doubt
22 Jan 01 |  Tennis
Hewitt considers legal action
17 Aug 02 |  Tennis

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