Novak Djokovic denies calling for boycott of '19 Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Novak Djokovic strongly denied claims he called for a boycott of next year's Australian Open and dismissed suggestions that players should form their own union in a bid to earn increased prize money at the four Grand Slam events.

Djokovic, who is the president of the ATP Player Council, also insisted that equal prize money was not one of the topics discussed at the meeting, which was held in Melbourne last week.

"I saw that some of you have written a story that has been a little bit exaggerated," Djokovic said Tuesday at Melbourne Park. "You've taken things out of context. I saw that you've portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott.

"Not much of what you have wrote is true. We wanted to use this opportunity to speak about certain subjects and see how everyone reacts to that, and I guess see what opinions are. There were no decisions being made. There were no talks about boycott or anything like that."

This past weekend, The Daily Mail alleged that Djokovic had spoken strongly about the need to increase prize money in majors and award players a greater share of the overall tournament revenue.

Prize money, which has doubled at almost all of the Grand Slams since 2012, is around 14 percent of overall tournament revenue and shared between the men and women. That compares to between 15 percent and 28 percent on the men's ATP Tour.

Djokovic, who also denied the report that a lawyer had been present at the meeting, said tournaments were "trying to do their best" when it comes to prize money.

"We are here at the Australian Open, and they always try to compensate the players in a best possible way," he said. "Craig Tiley [CEO of Tennis Australia, which runs the Australian Open] is always trying to accommodate players to make them feel like at home, make them feel respected and valued.

"Things are going in the right direction. The question that you ask me you can ask the president of ATP. I'm part of the council, but I don't sit on these negotiation tables.

"Obviously before you get anything to be voted on the [ATP] board, it has to go through council. It's not only me that makes some calls -- far from that. I'm just glad that I'm part of it, that I can contribute to a better sport today, and the future. Hopefully the next generation will even have a better sport."

In 2012, the players also called for increased prize money, a threat that ultimately forced the four Grand Slams to award a significant rise in compensation across the board.

When asked on Thursday if the Grand Slam tournament organizers could pay more prize money to players, Roger Federer said there's "no doubt about it."

"If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be," he said. "But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day. We know that. We just hope they realize and they do appreciate us maybe more all the time and not just in waves, you know what I mean?"

But Federer said he's pleased players are communicating with each other about concerns.

"I think what's good is that all the players are talking to one another," he said. "When the players don't talk, nothing gets done."