Federer, Nadal and King call for ATP, WTA merger

In a series of tweets, Roger Federer said he believes this would be the right time to merge the two governing bodies and make it stronger.

Roger Federer has suggested the merger of ATP and WTA.   -  REUTERS

Roger Federer called for merger of the governing bodies of men's and women's tennis through Twitter on Wednesday.

In a series of tweets in response to fans, Federer said the merger would help 'two weakened bodies' to become 'one stronger body' to overcome the crisis brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ |The origin of tennis: History, mystery and myths

"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?," the World No. 4 said on Twitter.

"I agree with you. It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories," the 20-time Grand Slam champion said in response to a fan.

 

But he made it clear that he wasn't recommending a change in the competition format.

“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,” he said.

"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," he said.

 

Nadal, who has 19 Grand Slam titles, supported his long-time rival's proposition.

“Hey @rogerfederer as you know per our discussions I completely agree that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men's and women's tennis in one only organisation,” he said.

 

Federer and Nadal argued by a merger tennis could emerge stronger from the coronavirus lockdown which has seen the sport shut down, with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War II and the French Open pushed back to the end of September.

WTA founder Billie Jean King joined Federer and Nadal in suggesting “now is the time” to merge the men's ATP and women's body into one umbrella organisation to oversee the two professional tennis tours.

Trailblazer King, who was a part of establishing the WTA in 1973 and was one of the 'Original 9' on the tour, said her support for the idea dates back decades.

“I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis. The WTA on its own was always Plan B. I'm glad we are on the same page. Let's make it happen. #OneVoice,” she tweeted.

 

Later, three-time Grand Slam winner Stanislas Wawrinka claimed discussions are underway regarding the move with the ATP's chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

“It was not just a comment like that, there is more talk behind that. Gaudenzi at the ATP was already talking about it,” he said during an Instagram Live with 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert.

Two-time women's Grand Slam champion Simona Halep also said they were behind the idea. Nick Kyrgios, however, opined that the two governing bodies shouldn't merge.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos