The Chief Executives of the ATP and WTA Tour have backed Roger Federer's suggestion regarding the merger of the ATP & WTA Tours as the sport continues to grapple with the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Reuters, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said the current crisis was an opportunity to create a unified structure in order to maximise the benefits for fans and help the sport fight competition from other sports and entertainment platforms.
“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.
To that end, I welcome the views of our players. Tennis has always led the way when it comes to putting men and women together on the biggest stages – it’s one of our strengths, and sets us apart from many other sports.
We look forward to continued collaboration and discussions with the WTA and other stakeholders across all aspects of our business”. The WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said they have been in regular contact with the ATP in recent weeks as well.
“I have long stated that we are at our best as a sport when we can work together, and the recent weeks have highlighted that fact." Federer sparked a major debate in the tennis universe on Friday with a message on his social media account about a possible merger between the two tours.
The Swiss maestro had tweeted, "Just wondering ... am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men's and women's tennis to be united and come together as one? I am picturing a merger between the WTA and ATP.
I am not talking about merging competition on the court, but merging the 2 governing bodies (ATP and WTA) that oversee the men's and women's professional tours ..." Federer continued, "It's too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories..
It probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time. These are tough times in every sport and we can come out of this with 2 weakened bodies or 1 stronger body."