SHANGHAI (AP) — The top men's tennis players may still meet this week in Shanghai to discuss their grievances with the ATP tour despite the absence of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Andy Roddick said at the Shanghai Masters on Monday he hopes other players are still "passionate" about the problems and open to discussing ways to resolve them.
Roddick has been among the most vocal proponents for a collective response to the top players' complaints about the tour, notably the length of the season and the number of tournaments players must enter.
The issues came to a head during the rain-soaked U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roddick voiced concerns about the conditions of the courts and the condensed schedule that forced Nadal to play three matches in three days.
"Obviously, you need the top players involved," Roddick said, adding that Djokovic and Federer are just "a phone call away."
"I don't think we're storming offices, but I think the sentiment is still there," Roddick added. "I think it would be dumb of us to rush anything. If something like this does happen, we need to be smart about it and take our time and make sure that it's well thought-out and not be kind of reactionary. But, you know, there is a discussion going on."
Roddick has floated the idea of forming a players' union similar to those in other major pro sports. And Murray said last month that a strike couldn't be ruled out if something isn't done to address the packed tournament calendar.
"You have to have a voice in order to get it accomplished," Roddick said. "Whatever our individual interests are and what we want changed, nothing is going to happen unless we're on the same page."
Murray has been one of the busiest players on tour this autumn, winning two straight tournaments before coming to Shanghai. Nadal is also playing for the second straight week after reaching the final at the Japan Open.
Djokovic pulled out of Shanghai to recover from a back injury. Federer is taking a six-week break to rest and recuperate after a busy summer. The Swiss star flew to Australia days after losing in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to play two Davis Cup singles matches and a doubles match.