ITF chief unfazed by players' threat to strike

Updated: 23 September 2011 23:36 IST

The head of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Friday he is optimistic that a threatened strike by leading men's tennis players will be averted.

ITF chief unfazed by players' threat to strike

Bangkok:

The head of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said Friday he is optimistic that a threatened strike by leading men's tennis players will be averted.

"We are in discussion and we are open to listen to what they said," Francesco Ricci Bitti said in Bangkok, where he was re-elected for a fourth term as president of the body.

"Normally in the past we had long negotiation but we found a solution. I believe we will find again another solution."

World number four Andy Murray told the BBC on Wednesday that he had held several talks with other players at the US Open and they would further discuss the matter further at the Shanghai Masters early next month.

The 24-year-old Scot said a strike was "a possibility" adding, "I know from speaking to some players they're not afraid of doing that."

Matters came to a head at the US Open where rain forced some players such as Spanish star Rafael Nadal to play matches on three successive days then have one day off and travel to Europe to play in the Davis Cup.

The players were also incensed by the announcement last year by ATP chief executive Adam Helfant, who has since decided to leave the governing body, that the Paris Masters and the World Tour Finals would be played back-to-back, so two weeks have been saved in the 2012 ATP calendar.

Ricci Bitti said tournaments overseen by the ITF -- the Davis Cup, the Fed Cup and the Olympics -- took up only five percent of the overall calendar.

"We recognise that the players could be tired but we are ready to meet them and see if we find a solution. I think if they're tired, my first comment is that they cannot be tired only for our competition," he said.

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