Two months after there were suggestions of possible strike action by players, Roger Federer and his colleagues are looking as likely to man the picket lines as this week's Paris Masters is to offer chip butties and mugs of tea for lunch.
After Andy Murray admitted plans for players to discuss their grievances had got “nowhere”, Federer himself said that he did not believe a strike was necessary and that such talk was “absurd”.
At the US Open the likes of Murray, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick were talking openly about players getting together to discuss numerous issues, including the length of the season, the Davis Cup's place in the calendar, levels of prize money and even the formation of a players' union. However, some of those championing the players' cause advised them subsequently that airing gripes in public was not helpful.
Federer, who is president of the player council at the Association of Tennis Professionals, agrees. “The season is too long, this is not good, we should change this, change that,” he said yesterday. “Clearly we need to make changes, but we don't need to make them publicly or within the press.”
Murray and Federer, who play the Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Adrian Mannarino respectively in their opening matches today, both said it was difficult to arrange player meetings.
They also agreed that the first priority now was to appoint an executive chairman of the ATP following Adam Helfant's decision to leave at the end of the year.
As for the idea of a strike, Federer said: “Until this very day, we've never gone on strike or boycotted the Davis Cup or anything. If you want to do that, you have to basically miss what's most dear to you. So what would that mean to me? Strike at Wimbledon? I don't know. Strike at the US Open? What is that? That would be something you would have to think twice before you wanted to do it.”