WELLINGTON • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from this month's ATP Player Council elections, citing the governing body's new rule that would make it a "conflict of interest" because of his role in the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
The Serb set up the new breakaway independent players' union on the eve of the US Open in September and resigned as head of the player council.
While he confirmed last month he had been nominated by his fellow professionals for the current elections, which he accepted, the new ATP rule means he has had to withdraw.
"My first reaction to this nomination was to accept it with the intention that, if elected, I would do my best to protect players' interests within the ATP," Djokovic tweeted on Monday.
"However, a few days after my nomination, the ATP passed a new rule which has put me in a difficult position. Unfortunately, given these latest developments I feel it is now necessary to remove myself from the list of candidates.
"I do not wish to create conflict or uncertainty around the player elections or create any issues that may arise."
He repeated the assertions he made several times this year that the PTPA wanted to co-exist with the sport's governing bodies and had "no intention of being in conflict", but the ball was now in their court.
"The PTPA has made it clear it does not intend to be combative, it is unclear how the ATP will view the association in the future," the 17-time Major winner said.
He added that the PTPA was still in the formative stages but he was still keen to advance it to further the interests of all players, especially those in the lower ranks.
The decision to form the PTPA blindsided many players, with record 20-time Grand Slam champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal voicing their opposition.