'Keep it behind closed doors'

 Novak Djokovic on Tuesday called for talks to improve conditions in tennis to be kept “behind closed doors” after a public disagreement between Rafael Nadal and Roger  Federer at the Australian Open.

Players on Saturday met new men’s tour chief Brad Drewett in Melbourne on the eve of the Australian Open and are reportedly unhappy over Davis Cup scheduling and their share of prize money at grand slams, among other issues.

After the players’ meeting Nadal accused Federer of not doing enough to back fellow professionals, exposing a rift between the two long-time rivals on how to improve conditions.

“It’s obvious that there are a lot of players in men’s tennis that are, you know, complaining about the schedule and season,” said Djokovic, after cruising through his first round match in Melbourne against Paolo Lorenzi.

“They don’t even need to say much. But just looking at the injuries that we have, especially from the top players, including myself... it’s obvious that we need some change.

“But I prefer talking in detail about these things more behind closed doors.”

Federer on Monday said he had no hard feelings towards world number two Nadal, who admitted that he regretted making his comments in public.

However, a strong mood for change remains in the air at the Australian Open, with many players voicing their desire for better conditions.

Meanwhile, Former world number one Andy Roddick is convinced professional tennis players have the leverage to push through the changes they want to see in the men's game if they remain united.

Speaking about last weekend's meeting, Roddick said: “I think as the product, I don't think we should underestimate our leverage in this game, especially if we do have one voice.”
Roddick said there was widespread agreement on the main problems but that the players had reached similar conclusions a decade ago, only for splits to open up later.

“Unity is a hard thing to attain,” Roddick said. “While I think we have probably the majority, it's easy to talk about it, but it's another thing to go through the process and the work and the hours to try to get an angle.

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