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Bautista Agut slams decision to close roof during Djokovic semi-final

Last updated on: August 29, 2020 21:23 IST
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'Everybody knows that they could wait a little bit, no? It was an unfortunate decision.'

Roberto Bautista Agut said the break disturbed his rhythm and he also had problems with his ball toss while serving in the first game under the closed roof. 

IMAGE: Roberto Bautista Agut said the break disturbed his rhythm and he also had problems with his ball toss while serving in the first game under the closed roof. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has hit out at tournament officials for their decision to close the roof during the second set of his semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic on Friday in the Western & Southern Open in New York.

Bautista Agut won the opening set and was about to serve at 4-5 in the second when organisers decided to close the roof of the Louis Armstrong stadium during the changeover, anticipating rain.

 

The world number 12 lost his serve immediately as Djokovic drew level in the match and then carved out a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0) victory to avoid a third straight loss against the Spaniard.

"Everybody knows that they could wait a little bit, no? It was an unfortunate decision," the 32-year-old Bautista Agut told reporters.

"It's not the first time I disagree with Lars Graff (ATP supervisor). I think it was not great and it was 100% wrong."

Bautista Agut said the break disturbed his rhythm and he also had problems with his ball toss while serving in the first game under the closed roof.

"I totally disagree with the decision he took, and for sure it was not great because he broke my rhythm," he said.

"So the roof break could wait a little bit to finish the set because to close the roof, it's five minutes."

World number one Djokovic, who has struggled with a neck injury during the tournament, received assistance from the physiotherapist during the second set and later said his opponent was the better player on Friday.

While Bautista Agut rued the missed chance to stop Djokovic from winning his 22nd straight match this year, the fact that he was two points away from a win while serving at 6-5 in the decider should give him confidence ahead of next week's U.S. Open.

"I played really good matches this week, and I was serving for the match against the No. 1," Bautista Agut said.

Djokovic, Pospisil look to form new players association

World number one Novak Djokovic is trying to form a new body to represent players and has resigned from his position as the president of the players council of the Association of Tennis Professionals, the New York Times said on Saturday.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil, a member of the Djokovic-led council, said he had also resigned.

"After two years on the ATP Player Council, I am resigning from my position as the player representative for the 51-100 ranking positions," Pospisil wrote on Twitter.

"It has become clear that, as a player council member within the current structure of the ATP, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to have any significant impact on any major decisions made by our tour."

The players are now assembled in New York's bio-secure bubble ahead of the US Open Grand Slam from Monday.

The new body will be called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and a document detailing plans and objectives has been distributed to players, seeking their signatures.

"The goal of the PTPA is not to replace the ATP, but to provide players with a self-governance structure that is independent from the ATP and directly responsive to player-members' needs and concerns," the newspaper quoted the document as saying.

Djokovic overcame a sore neck to defeat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0) and set up a showpiece match against Canadian Milos Raonic in the Western & Southern Open.

The Serbian did not attend the post-match news conference and organisers said he "was not feeling well on court today and it worsened after the match".

Representatives of Djokovic and Pospisil did not respond to requests for comment.

The ATP currently governs the men's professional Tour and its board, chaired by former Italian professional player Andrea Gaudenzi, is composed of representatives of both players and tournaments. The body did not respond to request for comment.

Raonic said a "majority" of players was expected to sign in favour of the new association.

"Players have had plenty of time to think and reflect and take a look at certain parts which they may not be happy with and discuss," he said after his win on Friday.

"I don't know. A lot of us were kept in the dark by our leadership for six months. We were disappointed with many things."

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