American tennis star Reilly Opelka is one of the most outspoken pros in terms of calling the double standards and conflicts of interests in tennis. In an interview with TENNIS.com, Opelka described the ATP as a "total boys club." "I would explain that the ATP is a boys' club.
Just look at the board members. It's a total boys club. What is Danny Valverdu's experience in terms of being a tournament director? None, zero. And when a new week pops up on the calendar at an ATP sanctioned event, a Player Council member, Danny Valverdu, gets to be the tournament director [at the 2021 San Diego Open]," Opelka told TENNIS.com.
"He has no experience being a tournament director, none. Why does he get it? It's because it's a boys club. And I think that needs to change, the culture of that needs to change. "I would get someone less involved in tennis, you know? Because when you get someone that's close to tennis, then he's used to this, to the ATP being a mess.
It's been a circus for as long as it's been around. Every major global sport is doing great besides tennis, and I think it's just the leadership."
Opelka has called for ATP chairman to resign
Opelka thinks the game needs a new leadership as he has called for ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi to resign.
Also, Opelka thinks ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli should step down from his position. "I think Andrea Gaudenzi needs to step down from his position. I think we need new leadership. I mean, I don't mean it in a bad way. It's not a personal dig at them.
I think they're nice guys. Massimo [Calvelli] is a nice guy. But I don't quite get it. Why are we going for guys that were in tennis? No offense to Massimo but you don't go from being a Nike rep and being in charge of sending packages or getting the right clay court shoes to Rublev, to being a CEO of one of the biggest global sports.
This just doesn't happen in any other sport. And I'm not just ripping Massimo, I said the same about Chris Kermode—he was a teaching pro. The guy was a teaching pro at the Queen's Club in England. How do you go from being a teaching pro to being a CEO of one of the biggest global sports in the world, at a time where you have the three greatest players of all time playing?"