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Roddick urges slow approach but says sentiment is there for top players to air beefs with ATP
SHANGHAI (AP) ' Andy Roddick understands that nobody is about to storm the offices of tennis leaders. Yet he believes the game's top players remain intent on taking their grievances to the ATP tour.
Roddick has been among the most vocal proponents for a collective response to 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 when 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.
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.
Roddick said the top players may still meet this week in Shanghai to discuss their problems with the tour and various ways to resolve them, even if Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer aren't there.
"Obviously, you need the top players involved," Roddick said, adding that Djokovic and Federer are just "a phone call away."
But he cautioned that a slow approach is the proper way to go.
"I don't think we're storming offices, but I think the sentiment is still there," Roddick said. "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."
"You have to have a voice in order to get it accomplished," he added. "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.
Roddick said the withdrawals of Djokovic and Federer show that the top players need a longer break after the U.S. Open.
"They don't get their money this week," he said. "Obviously, if they were feeling well and they weren't worn down, then they would (be here). We're not getting away with anything by pulling out of tournaments. I feel like that's the way it's presented sometimes. That's just not the case."