Tennis the loser in feud between Novak Djokovic and Chris Kermode | Kevin Mitchell

The ousting of the ATP chairman will leave a vacuum at the top of the sport at a time when strong leadership is required

This is the story of a pointless coup. Engineered by Novak Djokovic and facilitated by a small group in the ATP players’ council, it has delivered up the head of the association, Chris Kermode, one of the most innovative administrators in sport, leaving tennis in a perilous limbo at the very time it needs strong leadership.

There has been animus between the world No 1 and the executive chairman for years, which soured their working relationship to the point of collapse in Indian Wells, California, on Thursday, when three representatives each of the players and the tournament owners who make up the Association of Tennis Professional’s board voted on his contract. He needed four votes. He lost. So did tennis.

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