The Professional Tennis Players Association is committed to equal pay for men and women at grand slam level, according to the man who teamed up with Novak Djokovic to launch the organisation.

Vasek Pospisil, whose on-court doubles efforts helped Canada win the Davis Cup for the first time in November, said the PTPA would "fight for both sides" in its efforts to improve players' prospects throughout the sport.

The breakaway union has caused controversy, with the ATP and WTA, which run the men's and women's tours, adamant they already have significant player representation when it comes to making decisions in the best interests of tennis.

Djokovic quit as president of the ATP player council to become the figurehead of the PTPA, which was launched at the height of the pandemic during the 2020 US Open.

There was initial criticism of the PTPA when no women appeared to be involved.

However, Pospisil said at the time discussions were ongoing, and ahead of the upcoming Australian Open, its first executive committee was unveiled, consisting of four men and four women.

Joining Djokovic and Pospisil are Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner, plus WTA players Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zheng Saisai.

Pay has been equal at all the grand slams since 2007, when Wimbledon announced it would reward women the same amount it pays men.

Asked about equal pay at the four majors and the PTPA's position, Pospisil told Stats Perform: "From day one, we always knew that this would only be successful with the women, and that has always been our goal. And so we're really happy that we're gaining a lot of traction now on the women's side.

"Currently, there is equal pay at the grand slam level, I believe, so that's obviously amazing.

"It is a joint organisation, both men and women, and we'll do everything to fight for both sides.

"Obviously, they're separate tours. The WTA, ATP, and grand slams are joined, of course. So, the staff will have their hands full with trying to advocate for both sides.

"It's a unified player association for both men and women, and we're really proud of that and where we're going."

Those already involved, and those the PTPA will hope to attract, are being advised the union is aiming to bolster the rights – and at the bottom line, the earning potential – of all involved.

There is currently significantly more money on offer on the ATP tour than on the WTA circuit, which points to issues of inequality remaining in the sport.

It has been known in recent times for some high-profile tournaments, where tours converge, to pay its men's champion more than its title-winning woman. This is despite events on both tours being best-of-three-set matches, whereas in the slams women play best-of-three and men play best-of-five, a matter that has long been a trigger for equal-pay debate.

Pospisil believes the WTA has a "smart and passionate" group of eight on its ExCo and said the "energy was amazing" when the group met for dinner on Thursday in Melbourne.

"I just have such a good feeling after a few years of working on this," Pospisil said. "To finally be at the stage where we're ready to go, are launching, got everything we need, and we have amazing player board reps that honestly we couldn't be happier with."

Djokovic, a 21-time singles grand slam winner, is at the forefront, and Pospisil said the 35-year-old Serbian's role has been crucial.

"I feel like you need somebody that is at the top of the sport," Pospisil said. "So, I just think all the players and our organisation, we're very lucky that he's so supportive and that he's stuck his neck out and is fighting for what he believes in and what he believes is right."

Sloane Stephens has confirmed Francis Roig as her new coach, less than a week after the Spaniard departed Rafael Nadal's team.

The 54-year-old, who had worked with his fellow countryman since 2005, parted ways with the 22-time grand slam winner earlier this month.

At the time, Nadal confirmed Roig was leaving his set-up for "a new project," which has now been confirmed as a role with Stephens.

The 2017 US Open winner announced the news in a post to her social media accounts, welcoming him aboard ahead of the 2023 season.

"Happy to have Francis Roig join my team as my new coach!" she wrote. "Here's to a successful journey together. Let's get to work."

Stephens, who achieved a career-high WTA ranking of third in 2018, has returned to the top 50 over the past year following a series of struggles with form.

She claimed her first title in four years at the Abierto Zapopan in Mexico in February, and reached a first grand slam quarter-final since 2019 at the French Open.

Nadal, meanwhile, announced Gustavo Marcaccio would replace Roig earlier this week, adding the Argentine to a team that contains Carlos Moya and Marc Lopez.

The Spaniard was effusive in his tribute to his outgoing coach last week, stating: "I only have words of gratitude and I wish him all the luck in the world."

Serena Williams says the chances of her returning to the court are "very high", despite declaring her intention to step away from tennis before the US Open last month.

Though she deliberately avoided saying she would retire prior to the tournament, instead saying she planned to "evolve" away from the sport, many believed Williams' third-round exit at Flushing Meadows last month was the last time she would be seen playing competitive tennis.

Her defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic was met with the kind of fanfare that suggested she was calling it a day on an illustrious career that included 23 grand slam titles, the second most in history behind Margaret Court.

But Williams implied she could yet step on the court again when speaking at a TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

In quotes collected by the San Francisco Standard, Williams said: "I am not retired.

"The chances [of me returning] are very high. You can come to my house and [see] I have a court."

Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from the Transylvania Open with a wrist injury, compounding a miserable 2022 for the British number one.

The teenager became an overnight star on the WTA Tour last year when she won the US Open women's singles title in her first appearance at Flushing Meadows.

However, her attempts to follow up that success have been hamstrung by a succession of niggles, with Raducanu currently down at 67th in the world rankings.

Her withdrawal from next week's event in Romania – the country from which her father hails – is just the latest injury problem, with Raducanu having been forced to quit during the semi-finals of last month's Korea Open with a glute problem.

This followed a first-round retirement at the Nottingham Open before Wimbledon, though Raducanu ultimately recovered to reach the second round of the grass-court major.

A first-round exit at the Ostrava Open this week, followed by the latest setback, means Raducanu's season appears effectively over, with the 19-year-old likely to set her focus on regaining full fitness ahead of 2023.

Iga Swiatek could reach double figures for grand slam titles but Wimbledon may be a stumbling block, according to Marion Bartoli.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Bartoli said she did not expect any player on the WTA Tour to match the "greatness" of Serena or Venus Williams.

The Frenchwoman, who won the 2013 Wimbledon women's singles title, also claimed the level of competition is currently not as strong as it was for the previous generation.

She is sold on Swiatek, though, who added to her 2020 and 2022 French Open titles by winning the US Open earlier in September.

The 21-year-old Polish player has emerged as the clear world number one since Ash Barty retired in March, stringing together 37 consecutive wins at one point until Alize Cornet beat her in round three at Wimbledon.

A lull in her performances followed that exit on the grass, but Swiatek fought her way through the field to triumph in New York.

"I was very impressed by how Iga this time with the US Open came with absolutely zero confidence and still found a way to win, and that is really a champion's mind," Bartoli said.

""She played really not great tennis in Toronto, not good tennis in Cincinnati, didn't play that well before the US Open. Whatever she worked on with her coach, she went on and plugged in for seven matches and to win the title, which is very impressive.

"So I think the level it's not at the highest, but I think the way she has been able to handle the pressure and go for it and win was absolutely very, very impressive.

"And she will win more. For sure she will win more on clay, she will win more on normal, slower hardcourts. Maybe not grass, but slow hard court is really a good surface for her as well. So easily between five and 10 for Iga, easily."

With Serena Williams saying a fond farewell to competitive tennis at the US Open, the women's tour has lost a 23-slam giant. In Bartoli's mind, there may be nobody of the great American's prowess to emerge for many years to come.

She said: "I think it's unfair to ask any of the current women's players to be as dominating as Serena was, or you know Venus as well.

"You just can't ask them to be at that level of greatness. You get that one out of a century or even two centuries. So I think we will have to wait a while before we get the next Serena Williams.

"And even Coco [Gauff] has talked about it, [saying] 'I'm not Serena, I will probably not get 23 grand slams like Serena you know, so stop putting pressure on me'.

"I think they're just trying their hardest, they're just trying their best, but obviously as Maria Sharapova said and I agree with her, the level of competition we used to have when all of us were playing was I think higher than what it is now."

Bartoli pointed to the example of Emma Raducanu, as a near-unknown, winning the US Open last year. She said that triumph for the British teenager was "out of any rational thoughts".

"This year she lost first round [to Cornet] and she dropped to 80 in the world," Bartoli added.

"You know that someone at 80 and someone at five, there is not so much of a difference in terms of level. And that's why you see those sort of upsets and constant change."

Novak Djokovic does not regret missing out on the US Open due to his vaccination stance and is waiting to discover if he will be allowed to compete in the 2022 Australian Open.

The 21-time grand slam winner missed two of this year's four majors owing to his decision to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Though Djokovic was able to extend his record at Wimbledon, he lost joint control of the outright Open Era title for most men's single majors to Rafael Nadal, after the latter won in Australia and then at the French Open.

Carlos Alcaraz, meanwhile, won a maiden grand slam to become the new world number one with victory at Flushing Meadows earlier this month.

Djokovic was barred from entering the USA on vaccination grounds, but speaking ahead of this week's Laver Cup, the Serbian says he does not rue his choice.

"No, I don't have any regrets," he said. "I mean, I do feel sad that I wasn't able to play but that was a decision that I made, and I knew what the consequences would be. I accepted them and that's it."

Djokovic was quick to hail teenager Alcaraz, congratulating the Spaniard for his victory, and adding: "He did it in an incredible fashion. He's 19 years old and already the number one in the world.

"I think he's a great addition to our sport, a great star in the making. We can't speak about him as the future because he is already the present."

Djokovic's 2022 started in less than auspicious circumstances when, having been granted an exception to compete in Australia despite the nation's strict COVID-19 protocols, he was subsequently deported.

Questions over whether he would even be allowed back in the country remain up in the air, but the Serbian is hopeful of a reprieve.

"I'm waiting for the news," he added. "It's really not in my hands right now. So I'm hoping I can get some positive news soon."

Carlos Alcaraz fell to a defeat to fellow youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime in his first match as world number one.

Alcaraz triumphed at the US Open on Sunday, beating Casper Ruud to clinch his first grand slam title and, in the process, become the youngest world number one since the rankings were first published in 1973.

The 19-year-old is the second-youngest male player to win the title at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era, and only the third player since the majors welcomed professionals in 1968 to win the US Open title at his first or second main draw appearance after Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver (in the first two editions of the tournament).

Yet back on home soil in Spain on Friday, Alcaraz was unable to claim victory in his first match since becoming number one, as he went down 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 to Auger-Aliassime in the Davis Cup Finals.

Canada's Auger-Aliassime did not concede a break point as he dragged his country level in their tie with Spain in Valencia, teeing up a doubles decider after Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Vasek Pospisil 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime, 22, has won both of his career matches against Alcaraz, after defeating him in the US Open quarter-finals last year.

Roger Federer will remain forever "linked" with Wimbledon following the 20-time grand slam winner's retirement announcement, says Marion Bartoli.

The Swiss veteran confirmed this month's Laver Cup will be his final top-tier tennis tournament on the ATP Tour, calling time one of the greatest careers in any sport.

But while fellow big-three stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal remain unparalleled at the Australian Open and French Open respectively, it is Federer who has made Wimbledon his defining legacy.

With eight men's singles triumphs, the 41-year-old is closely associated with the event, and was welcomed back with a riotous reception earlier this year for a parade celebrating the centenary of Centre Court.

Bartoli, the 2013 women's singles champion, was also at that event and she says Federer's legacy in London will remain for decades to come, even as Djokovic creeps closer to levelling it.

"I was lucky enough to have this very special moment," she told Stats Perform. "He was the last one to walk on the court because he won eight times there and the reception from the crowd, it was just absolutely manic.

"The whole [of] Centre Court just exploded. He [is] just so loved there. That 2019 final, where he lost to Novak having had two match points. I don't think one person outside of Novak's family [wanted him to lose].

"Roger and Wimbledon – [the] two are just linked together. It's just his body. The problem is when you just can't do it any more physically. He played more than 1,500 matches over 20-plus years. You can't do this forever.

"There is a certain time when your body has its limits, and [this] was it for Roger. But I think no one can blame him for not trying every single time 100 per cent when he was stepping on the court."

Serena Williams has paid tribute to retiring 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, describing her admiration for him and welcoming him "to the retirement club".

The 41-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he would bring an end to his illustrious playing career after the Laver Cup later this month.

Federer's announcement comes only weeks after 23-time major winner Williams declared her intention to step away from tennis, culminating at the US Open earlier this month where she bowed out in the third round.

The Swiss icon will bow out with 20 major titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). Williams sits behind only Margaret Court (24) for women's singles major titles.

"I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career," Williams wrote on Instagram.

"I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same.

"You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget. I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future.

"Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer."

Williams has deliberately avoided the use of the word retirement since declaring her intention to 'evolve' away from tennis, meaning the latter comment is of note.

The 40-year-old American has teased at a potential return to tennis, saying on Good Morning America this week that "Tom Brady started a really cool trend", referencing his decision to come out of retirement.

WTA world number one Iga Swiatek thanked Roger Federer for "everything you've done and everything you are for our sport" after the Swiss great announced his retirement.

Federer confirmed on Thursday that he would bring his illustrious playing career to a close after the Laver Cup.

The 41-year-old will bow out with 20 grand slam titles to his name, a feat bettered by only two male players – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Swiatek, meanwhile, won her third major title last week, defeating Ons Jabeur in straight sets to clinch the US Open, following her successes at Roland Garros in 2020 and earlier this year.

"I just want to thank you for everything you've done and everything you are for our sport," 21-year-old Swiatek tweeted in response to Federer's announcement.

"It's been a privilege to witness your career. I wish you all the best." 

Swiatek followed her post with a goat emoji, signifying that Federer is the greatest of all time.

Chris Evert, a former world number one, also joined the tributes to Federer, tweeting: "He was the epitome of a champion; class, grace, humility, beloved by everyone…and he elegantly mastered the sport like no other…Good luck to you, @rogerfederer don't go too far!"

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time major winner, posted: "What a heartfelt message, full of love, life, hope, passion and gratitude. Which is exactly how Roger played the game we love so much. Thank you thank you thank you, for all the magic!!!"

Erling Haaland and Casper Ruud are flying the Norwegian flag high at the top of their sports, with Brighton and Hove Albion Women's new recruit Elisabeth Terland inspired by her compatriots.

Norway international Terland left SK Brann for Brighton in August and will hope to make her Women's Super League debut on Friday against Arsenal.

The 21-year-old, who has 13 international caps, referenced the rapid start Haaland has made to life at Manchester City, where he has scored 13 goals in just nine appearances since leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland enjoyed a reunion with his former club on Wednesday, netting a sublime acrobatic finish to take his tally to 26 goals in 21 Champions League appearances – a strike every 62 minutes on average.

With City's new recruit taking the Premier League by storm, Terland hopes to emulate her fellow Norwegian as she prepares for a new challenge in England.

"The things he's doing at the moment are sick. It's just cool to see how a player can come into a new league and come into a new team and just perform time after time," she told Stats Perform. 

"Of course, it's inspiring. Everybody from Norway is really proud of him and what he's doing. Everybody is supporting him. He's a good product of our country."

While Haaland has made a flying start at City, tennis player Ruud reached his second major final of the season at the US Open.

Carlos Alcaraz proved a step too far for Ruud in the battle for the world number one spot at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, but the 23-year-old is another compatriot serving as inspiration for Terland.

"I did watch a little bit [of the US Open final]. It was quite late. Of course, it's just as inspiring to see people doing well in [other] sports," she added.

"That makes you want to do well in sports as well. [He is] a great athlete and does it time after time as well. Hopefully, next time he will win."

Roger Federer's retirement from tennis marks the end of an era, as one of the sport's finest bows out next week at the Laver Cup.

A 20-time grand slam champion and six-time ATP Tour Finals victor – the latter still an undefeated record in the Open Era – the Swiss star has been one of the leading lights in the men's game.

Coming on the heels of Serena Williams' apparent finish at the summit of the sport at this month's US Open, it represents the latest major changing of the guard near the summit of tennis' upper echelons.

Throughout his career, the 41-year-old has stood either alone or alongside a rarefied group in the record group, and Stats Perform has rounded up some of his most impressive statistics.

750 - Federer has spent 750 weeks in the top 10 of the men's singles rankings, an undefeated number for a male player since they were first published in 1973.

369 - He has won more men's singles main draw matches in grand slam tournaments than any other player in the Open Era (369).

237 - With 237 consecutive weeks at number one, Federer holds the record for the longest such streak in men's singles history – a stretch of four-and-a-half years.

105 - Federer has played 105 matches at Wimbledon in the Open Era, more than any other male player.

 

103 - The number of ATP-level titles won by Federer in the Open Era is 103, a feat bettered only by Jimmy Connors (109).

36 - At the age of 36 years, five months and seven days, Federer won his last grand slam, at the 2018 Australian Open, becoming the oldest man to do so in the Open Era save for Ken Rosewall in 1972 (37 years, a month and 24 days, also in Melbourne).

224 - Federer has recorded 224 victories against top-10 opponents. Only Novak Djokovic (232) has more such wins in the Open Era.

15 - In his home tournament in Basel, Federer reached 15 finals, the highest tally for a player in a single ATP-level tournament since the majors turned professional in 1968.

1 - With 429 grand slam matches to his name in the Open Era, Federer is the only male player to have exceeded the 400+ mark.

10 - Federer is the only male player able to reach 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals in the Open Era (between Wimbledon 2005 and the US Open 2007).

0 - According to ATP Media info, Federer never retired from a match in his career (1,526 matches in singles, 223 in doubles).

Lots of eras have ended in 2022.

Tennis has now seen two in a short period of time, as Serena Williams' decision to step away from the court after the US Open was followed by Roger Federer announcing on Thursday that he will do the same after next week's Laver Cup in London.

Federer has had one of the most decorated careers an athlete could hope for, winning 20 grand slams, including eight men's singles titles at Wimbledon.

No player has claimed more than his 369 match wins at grand slams, with Novak Djokovic second on 334.

Following the Swiss star's announcement, Stats Perform has taken a look at five key moments from a truly remarkable career.

Taking of the torch

It felt like a big moment at the time, but with hindsight it was more like something from a Hollywood movie.

Pete Sampras had dominated at Wimbledon from 1993 to 2000, winning the men's singles title seven times in eight years.

Then, in the fourth round at SW19 in 2001, a pony-tailed teenager from Switzerland rocked up and beat him.

Federer had won the boys' championship at Wimbledon in 1998, but here he became a man, beating Sampras in a five-set thriller, to the delight of the crowd.

It denied Sampras an eighth title, which would ironically be a feat achieved by Federer years later.

First grand slam win

It was, of course, Wimbledon where Federer lifted his first grand slam. Two years after his win against Sampras it was time for him to fulfil his potential, and he did just that in 2003.

Going into the tournament as number four seed, he defeated the likes of Mardy Fish, Feliciano Lopez, Sjeng Schalken and Andy Roddick to reach the final.

There, he met big-serving Australian, Mark Philippoussis, and won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

People said it could be the first of many, which was somewhat of an understatement.

Five alive at Flushing Meadows

Having already mastered Wimbledon by winning it five years in a row between 2003 and 2007, Federer wanted to dominate other grand slams, which he certainly did in the United States.

After winning his first US Open title in 2004, he went on to win it again and again, culminating in repeating his Wimbledon trick by making it five consecutive in 2008.

Having earned passage to the championship match with a hard-fought four-set victory against Djokovic in the semis, Federer ended up easing to a win in the final against Andy Murray, beating the Scot 6-2 7-5 6-2 to secure number five on the hard courts of New York.

A clay clean sweep

Federer had more than proven himself on grass and hard court, but while he still won the vast majority of his matches on clay, he struggled to get over the line in the same way, particularly thanks to the presence of a certain talented Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal beat him in three consecutive French Open finals from 2006 to 2008, with Federer unable to even force a fifth set in any of those defeats.

However, in 2009 he did not have to face Nadal in the final. Instead, he came up against the man who had shocked Nadal in the fourth round, Robin Soderling.

Federer found the Swede an easier proposition in the final, beating him 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to win his first title at Roland Garros, and complete his set of grand slams, having also won three times at the Australian Open by that point (2004, 2006 and 2007).

The final trophy lift

In what turned out to be his last grand slam success, Federer absolutely cruised through the field at the Australian Open in 2018, not dropping a set until the final.

While he had continued to go far in tournaments and wowed the crowds with his trademark rallies and forehand winners, Federer had only won three grand slams since 2010.

Federer had won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017, and many thought that might have been his one last hurrah, but he arguably saved an even better showing for the first tournament of the following year.

He was made to earn it in the final, before ultimately overcoming Marin Cilic 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1.

It brought his overall total of grand slam victories to 20, and though that has since been passed by Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21), Federer will go down as one of the all-time greats.

US Open champions past and present Andy Roddick and Carlos Alcaraz led a swathe of social media tributes to Roger Federer after the 20-time grand slam winner announced his retirement.

Federer, who has not played competitively since exiting Wimbledon at the quarter-final stage last year, revealed on Thursday that next week's Laver Cup will be his farewell tournament.

Federer appeared at a parade of former champions at Wimbledon earlier this year and hinted at his desire to feature at the All England Club once more, but his upcoming outing in London will now represent the swansong to his stunning career.

The Swiss great will become the first of the ATP Tour's 'Big Three' to exit the sport, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still active. 

While Nadal and Djokovic have each surpassed Federer's tally of 20 major titles this year, the 41-year-old overtook Pete Sampras' previous record of 14 grand slam titles by beating Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final.

Roddick was among the first to pay tribute to Federer's achievements on Thursday, writing on Twitter: "Cheers Roger. Thanks for the shared memories my friend. 

"It was an honour to share time/experiences on the most hallowed grounds in our sport. Don't be a stranger."

Alcaraz, who clinched his first grand slam title and became world number one with a US Open final win over Casper Ruud on Sunday, simply wrote: "Roger…", accompanied by a heartbroken emoji.

Milos Raonic has seen his efforts to win a major title foiled by the presence of the 'Big Four' – with Andy Murray beating him on his sole grand slam final appearance at Wimbledon in 2016 – but he also showed his appreciation for Federer's impact.

"Thank you for doing more for tennis than any single individual," Raonic wrote. "Thanks to you competitors and fans across the world get to experience and enjoy it all over the world. 

"Congratulations on your achievements and the people you continue to impact in and away from tennis."

Juan Martin del Potro, who prevented Federer from winning six consecutive US Open titles with a five-set success in the 2009 final, labelled the 41-year-old irreplaceable, declaring: "I LOVE YOU, Roger. 

"Thank you for everything you've done in tennis and with myself. [The] tennis world will never be the same without you."

Former player-turned presenter James Blake added: "Roger, there was and never will be anyone like you. You crushed me on the court, but were so nice and genuine that I couldn't hate you for it. 

"You made the game better on and off the court and you will be missed. Good luck, you have earned all the success and joy in the world."

Garbine Muguruza tweeted: "RF" followed by a heartbroken emoji.

Those who shared a court with Federer were not the only ones to pay tribute, however.

A tweet from Wimbledon's official account read: "Roger, where do we begin? It's been a privilege to witness your journey and see you become a champion in every sense of the word. We will so miss the sight of you gracing our courts, but all we can say for now is thank you, for the memories and joy you have given to so many."

Roland Garros' official account tweeted: "An inspiration on and off the court. Thank you, Roger."

The US Open's handle simply posted: "Thank you, Roger."

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