WIMBLEDON, England — The ATP refused to pull its participation agreement -- a proposal to create other events running against the Grand Slam tournaments -- off the bargaining table Friday in its talks with the Grand Slam Committee.
Thursday, the committee had suggested the move, aware that the ATP has been facing eroding player support.
Friday, the committee released a statement, saying: "During these meetings, the executive leadership of ATP was asked to withdraw the so-called Participation Agreement, which threatens to create alternative events against the Grand Slams.
"The publicity surrounding these activities has caused damage to the image of the sport and its players. The GSC is disappointed in ATP leadership's current unwillingness to void the Participation Agreement, the continued existence of which will have a negative impact on further discussions."
In a subsequent statement, the ATP made no reference to the participation agreement. It merely addressed the formation of joint groups working on issues of calendar/format and marketing/promotions.
One school of thought is that ATP Chief Executive Mark Miles can use the participation agreement to continue negotiating, because without that threat, the committee would not listen to the ATP's financial concerns. The downside, some say, is that the committee can counter with protective measures, as long as a boycott threat exists.
-- Lisa Dillman