Vasek Pospisil calls ATP chief a ‘f***ing a**hole’ in astonishing on-court rant

Pospisil fumed on court (Picture: Icon Sportswire via Getty)

Tennis politics leaked onto the court on Wednesday as the co-leader of a tearaway faction launched into an astonishing rant aimed at the head of men’s tennis.

Vasek Pospisil, the world No. 67 from Canada, branded the ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi a ‘f***ing a**hole’ in a heated discussion with chair umpire Arnaud Gabas during his three-sets defeat to America’s Mackenzie McDonald.

After losing the first set to a point penalty for verbal abuse – having already launched a ball out of court and smashed two racquets – Pospisil, who founded the Professional Tennis Players Assocation along with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic – revealed details of a private conversation with Gaudenzi before threatening to sue the ATP.

‘An hour and a half yesterday, the chair of the ATP fucking screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players,’ Pospisil, who was beaten 6-3 4-6 6-3, raged on court.

‘For an hour and a half. The leader of the ATP. Get him out here. F***ing a**hole.’

After being advised by Gabas to deal with this away from the court, Pospisil replied: ‘Why am I here? If you wanna default me I’ll gladly sue this whole organisation.’

Political tension has long existed at the heart of men’s tennis but in more recent concerns, players have been upset by prize money cuts, the frozen rankings system and restrictions in tournaments’ biosecure bubbles.

Gaudenzi (centre) was criticised on court by Pospisil (Picture: Getty)

It’s understood that few in the sport are currently enamoured with the ATP leadership team and there remain long-term gripes over secrecy surrounding tournament finances.

There have been rumours circulating around the potential for strike action but as of yet no concrete plans have emerged. Whether there is – or will be – enough support for such strong action among the player body remains to be seen.

It’s reported by Open Court that Gaudenzi and the ATP leadership went after Pospisil in a players meeting, calling him ‘ignorant’ and ‘uneducated’, with the Canadian left in tears.

Pospisil’s on-court behaviour was hardly becoming, either, and a swift apology followed.

‘I want to sincerely apologise for my behaviour on the court in Miami earlier today,’ Pospisil wrote in a statement on social media.

‘I disrespected the game I love and for that I am truly sorry. By way of explanation, I felt deeply unnerved during a meeting between players and ATP executives last night, and I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today.

‘Again, I am sorry for my on-court behaviour and the language I used.’

Earlier on Wednesday in Miami, John Isner – who, like Djokovic and Pospisil stepped down from the ATP player council to join the PTPA – was asked about the big decrease in prize money and suggested more transparency was required.

Isner wants more transparency (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s not what we’ve been accustomed to. At the same time we know that tournaments in the past year don’t have the ticketing revenue that they’re used to having,’ said Isner. ‘Of course, our prize money is going to take a hit because of that, too. To dig into why it’s lower, I don’t really have all those details.

‘I think for some of the players, it’s not so much about the prize money. We don’t really want to make it about that. Maybe it’s about tour structure that the players would like to have a little bit more, I guess, better knowledge of as to why decisions are made, what went into making each decision.

‘Again, it’s really not about the money. Of course, we would prefer to be playing for a bigger purse. There’s just a little bit of uncertainty about how those numbers came into play, why the prize money is what it is.’

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