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As short-lived honeymoons go, this must be one of the most troubling — even in the manic world of tennis politics. Adam Helfant had no sooner become executive chairman of the ATP World Tour than Ivan Ljubicic, the former world No 3 from Croatia and the newest member of the ATP board, has decided to resign.
Ljubicic has recently become a father for the first time and was finding that commitment and continuing his career very tricky. His loss to the decision-making process, when clarity and harmony is vital and when he was seen as a vital link between the players and the tournaments who own a half share in the ATP, is shocking. Ljubicic is also said to have been troubled by the behaviour of several of his fellow players at a meeting last weekend here, at which Helfant was formally introduced.
According to one official at the meeting and did not want to be named, the players “went ballistic” when the debate moved to the allocation of ranking points. The ATP has introduced a new system that now offers a far greater differential between the early and later rounds of tournaments as well as between the bigger and smaller events. It also includes, controversially, ranking points for playing in the Davis Cup.
If Helfant, a former Nike executive who spent the past few days here locked in various meetings, wanted to know what he had let himself in for, then Ljubicic’s resignation is the sharpest of introductions. The new board has barely had time to bed down and already a place has been
It is believed that a favoured candidate to replace the Croatian as a player representative is Benito Pérez-Barbadillo, who represents the media interests of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martín del Potro, the No 1, No 3 and No 6 players in the world respectively.