The seven-time Major champion and Eurosport analyst Mats Wilander spoke to Reuters about the forced break in the tennis season caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Players will stay away from the court at least until the second part of July and Wilander believes the time is right to draw the right moves and improve the various aspects of the game itself, with the focus on younger tennis fans who should stay with our sport for the decades to come.
While praising the young generation of tennis stars, the Swede is aware that we are going to lose the greatest player of all time when Roger Federer decides to retire, with another loss coming after the retirement of his greatest rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Wilander also stands alongside Federer in those efforts to create one governing body for both the ATP and WTA that would make things for all the players much more comfortable if it brings the right decisions. "The truth is, we are going to lose the greatest player of all time in terms of interest in a year or two when Roger stops," Wilander said.
"We have a new breed of men and women that are exciting, great athletes with a great attitude; still, they are missing out on a bit of the limelight while the likes of Federer and Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic continue to play.
Now is the time to re-brand the sport a little to attract a younger audience. Maybe we can see more men's and women's combined events so the young players can be marketed better. Tennis has always been at the forefront of equality between men and women's prize money.
This is a perfect time to create a working relationship where we combine. Some tournaments wouldn't work as men's and women's event but others would. It's about demographics and being flexible and adapting to the market. But it's a necessity for tennis to attract younger fans going forward. The average age of the tennis fan is over 50."