Roger Federer believes Grand Slams could ‘definitely pay more’ and insists it’s ‘good that all the players are talking to one another’ amid calls for a union to be formed for ATP stars.
The world No. 2 was reported to be in direct opposition to Novak Djokovic‘s supposed proposal to form a union in order to earn fairer distribution of prize money at tournaments, with a particular emphasis on raising revenue for lower-ranked stars.
However, Federer said he agreed that Slams should be paying those competing more money, and insists that conversation among the players is only a good thing, although he highlighted some of the practical issues of regularly meeting due to their varied schedules.
‘I think what’s good is that all the players are talking to one another,’ he said after his second-round Australian Open win over Jan Lennard-Struff.
‘When the players don’t talk, nothing gets done. If the players talk to one another, it’s interesting. It’s not something we can do every day. We don’t have the players in the same room at all times.
‘We can get together in locker rooms, have a quick huddle-up meeting all together. But to get organised all ourselves, it’s not always easy because everybody has different schedules. We just got to make a conscious effort to get together and talk to one another.
‘I think that’s good, whatever the topic is, to be honest. I’m all for that. It seems like we’re talking, which is a good thing.’
Federer is under no illusions that the relationship between the Grand Slams and the players is strained and that the agreement between the two parties has ‘run its course’.
When asked whether prize money at the biggest tournaments in the world should be increased, he added: ‘Yes, they could definitely pay more, no doubt about it.
‘But we don’t need to talk about that right now in the third round or second round of a tournament.
‘They know that. We’re not partners. We’re just players. It’s always hard to rally. We had a good agreement, in my opinion, that made the Grand Slams happy, the players pretty happy. Seems like that has run its course.
‘The moment that happens, there’s not the same increases any more, so players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort. The Grand Slams know that. They will only react when we do so. We’re ready to do it. It’s going to be the same process over and over again.
‘It’s a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it’s not quite where it’s supposed to be.
‘But, look, you can’t go from here to right there in a day. We know that. We just hope they realise and they do appreciate us maybe more all the time and not just in waves, you know what I mean?
‘But it’s all good. We have good contacts with the Slams. It’s all good. But it’s going to be a never-ending story.’