Stanislas Wawrinka and other tennis figures are criticizing the ATP board's decision not to stick with CEO Chris Kermode, with the ATP Tournament Council also issuing a statement against the move.
Kermode did not get the required votes to extend his tenure during this week's board meeting, apparently because all or most of the three player reps did not vote in his favor. The ATP Player Council, which elects the player reps on the board, seemingly instructed a vote against Kermode.
But practically all the players and coaches who have reacted publicly are not backing the move.
"I'm really, really sad and disappointed about that. If you look what Chris achieved for the tennis, for every player, for every fans, for everyone around the tennis, it's been amazing," said Wawrinka.
In particular, Wawrinka questioned why Kermode was being ousted with no other candidates apparently under consideration.
"That's, I would say, the funny part. I also read what player representatives said right now. It's not like there is another option yet, or at least I don't know," said Wawrinka.
"I'm not in the council, I'm not in the board, so I don't know everything. I don't know everything that's happening. I just know from the players' side from what I know.
"So, for me, I think it's not the right decision to make, but again, I'm not in the council, so I cannot talk because they know more things than I do."
Wawrinka also indicated he did not approve of all the player reps.
"I also know that there is some people in the board that shouldn't be in the board," he said, though declining to give any specific names.
Wawrinka emphasized he was giving his own opinion on the issues. He said he was unsure to what extent other players shared his view, though he said he had spoken to other players who agreed.
French players Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert had a similar reaction.
"We're sad,'' said Mahut, speaking to TENNIS.com. "I was supporting [Kermode] because he was doing a good job."
"I'm sad," Herbert told TENNIS.com in an interview, adding that he also did not know what was behind the decision. "We haven't heard anything at all."
But both players were also cautious about criticizing the decision.
"We're not in the meetings," said Mahut. "We're going with the decision of the board."
The Player Council president, No. 1 Novak Djokovic, had confirmed the council's collective decision not to extend the CEO's position, but would not say whether he was for or against the move despite indications he is in favor of removing Kermode.
Before the vote, Nadal had suggested that stability was preferable.
"In my opinion changing the president will stop the process of improving our sport," he said. "Chris did a good job...it will be good if he stays a while more."
Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and coaches Magnus Norman and Thomas Johansson backed Kermode on social media.
A disappointing decision! Chris has shown great leadership and has had the ability and vision to keep growing our sport. The Australian boys appreciate all that he has done for the Tour. https://t.co/jz208qctuN— Lleyton Hewitt (@lleytonhewitt) March 8, 2019
I am shocked to hear the news today! Some players have no idea how lucky they have been to have Chris Kermode as their CEO and leader of our sport. By far the best CEO the tour has ever had!!!— Thomas Johansson (@tompatennis) March 8, 2019
The ATP Tournament Council issued a statement, expressing ''sincere disappointment" at the decision. "The ATP is a partnership between players and tournaments that, at times, have opposing views. Chris has navigated those challenges impressively," it said.
The ATP said in a statement that while Kermode has been CEO there has been "record prize money and growth for the organization" and male professional tennis.