20-time Grand Slam winner, Roger Federer, explained, in a series of tweets, why the merging of the ATP and WTA was necessary at this point.
The two bodies have always operated independently since the 1970s. The ATP, which is the association of Tennis Professionals, controls the affairs of professional male tennis events, while the WTA, or the Women’s Tennis Association, is for the women.
Since the Open Era, men and women have always played different games, except when they play mixed doubles at Grand Slams or other events that permit such. There are also other different competitions for people in different bodies as well as different prize money.
Federer’s stance is that it is time for the two bodies to merge, especially in the light of this coronavirus, saying, “We can come out of this with two weakened bodies or one stronger body”
The Swiss legend believes that it is only right to merge now, noting the increase in the level of cooperation between the two bodies.
He tweeted, “Recent cooperation between governing bodies has only strengthened my belief that a unified sport is the surest way to maximise our potential and to deliver an optimal experience for fans on-site, on television and online.” Indeed, the two bodies have been communicating with one another regularly in recent times.
Chairman of the WTP, Steve Simon confirmed that the body has been at “regular contact” with the ATP, further stressing his long-held view that the two bodies can work together. Andrea Gaudenzi, the ATP Chairman, also expressed his support for the idea, saying “Our sport has a big opportunity if we can come together.”
Federer received immense support from fellow professionals like Rafael Nadal, 19-time Grand Slam winner, who tweeted, “It would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men’s and women’s tennis in only one organisation.”
Ace Tennis Player who led the founding of the WTA, Billie Jean King, supported Federer’s call, mentioning how it has always been one of her wish to see the two bodies unified. Former world number 1, Greg Rusedski thinks “it would be a good idea.”
The only dissent arose from Australian Nick Kyrgios, who asked whether players in the ATP were asked about their opinions of a possible merge with the WTA, stating “we should not merge.”
Federer later cleared the air and defined what he meant by merging the two organisations. He stated that it would not affect the way they play now, but that having the same body would make things less confusing for fans, who have to deal with different websites, ranking systems, and competitions the two bodies operate.
Written by: Leon Osamor