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Steve Johnson says ‘things going on with the ATP are hurting the sport’

Johnson claims conflicts and lack of transparency are hurting the sport, cites Roland-Garros delay and Indian Wells event to illustrate his point

Steve Johnson, Cincinnati 2018 Steve Johnson, Cincinnati 2018

American Steve Johnson, ranked 85th in the world, has become the latest player to hit out at the ATP Tour in a series of tweets.

After compatriot John Isner posted a series of tweets calling the ATP Tour ‘a broken system’ in February, Johnson took a turn at criticizing the ATP system.

Johnson’s criticism is centred around two points – the postponement of Roland-Garros and the difficulty for the Indian Wells Masters Series event getting its approval to hold the tournament later in the year.

“Roland Garros once again unilaterally decides to change the date of their event”

In his tweets, Johnson states that the French Tennis Federation’s decision to postpone Roland-Garros by one week was taken unilaterally without taking into account the impact it would have on other tournaments and the rest of the tour.

Issues with Indian Wells approval

The second point on which Johnson seems to have a beef with the ATP administrators is with regards to holding the Indian Wells Masters Series later in the year. The Indian Wells Masters, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, was not held in its original slot in March for the second year in a row.

Organizers have said they would be working with the tours to see if they can hold the event at a later date in the calendar, with reports suggesting a slot after the US Open.

However, Johnson suggests in his tweets that Indian Wells is unable to get approval to hold the event with 100% prize money because of conflicts related to other tournament directors, who are Board members on the ATP Tour.

Johnson had also posted a tweet in support of Vasek Pospisil after the Canadian reportedly came under fire at a meeting with the ATP Tour officials during the Miami Masters. That confrontation led to Pospisil having a meltdown on-court the following day during his match against Mackenzie McDonald.

Millman pushes back

It remains to be seen how ATP officials would react to this latest tweetstorm hurled at them by another of their players. But we did get some pushback from Aussie John Millman, who has his own set of beliefs regarding what is going on between the ATP board, the tournament directors and Indian Wells.

“They didn’t get approval initially because they weren’t flexible with when they wanted to have the event,” he wrote on Twitter. “Options were given with available weeks, they didn’t want any of them, wanted one specific week… to suggest that they aren’t getting approval because of board members wanting to benefit from prizemoney reductions (due to covid) is simply untrue.”

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