Chris Kermode, the former President of ATP Tour, who has been replaced by Italian Andrea Gaudenzi, says that the merger between the ATP & WTA Tours will only work if it is favourable for both the tours. Speaking to ESPN, Kermode says, "When things are going very well, no one wants to give up anything in any business.
You can't get anyone to focus on change. You tend to get people focusing on different ideas and potential changes when there's a crisis. So necessity drives a lot of these decisions. If it's ever advantageous for both sides to merge, it will happen.
But until that point, it won't. If one tour is doing better than the other, why do it? Both must have an incentive to merge. It's easy to write that tennis is dysfunctional because of all those governing bodies. But it's not unusual in international sports to have that.
In the end, when you're thinking of change, you always have to ask, 'What are the benefits?' The answer will tell you if something is worth doing." Meanwhile, Czech Barbora Strycova also supported the suggestion in her interview to the Marca website.
"I feel like it's a good idea. But it is not just a matter of speaking it but doing it as well. It is an initiative that has come from the men and we can join it. But right now we don't even know when we'll be playing again."
The debate began last week when Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer posted a tweet suggesting that the two tours should be merged so that the sport comes out stronger after the current crisis. Federer 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?" In a follow-up tweet, Federer said he was not advocating for "merging competition on the court," but for merging the ATP and WTA bodies.
"It's too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories." His suggestion gained support from several players including Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Billie Jean King as well as the current ATP & WTA Tour chiefs Andrea Gaudenzi and Steve Simon respectively.