The 20 times grand slam winner Roger Federer has called for merger of women (WTA) and men (ATP) pro tennis tours for stronger tennis body post covid-19 pandemic; in string of posts on twitter on Wednesday.
The professional era in tennis started in 1968, and the ATP was founded in 1972 and has run the men’s game since. The WTA was founded by Billie Jean King in 1973, uniting the women’s professional game into one tour.
“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?” Federer wrote, sparking an initial flurry of replies on the social media platform.
Federer emphasized he was “not talking about merging competition on the court” but rather the two governing bodies.
In a response to a reader’s comment, Federer wrote: “It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories.”
Federer said the merger “probably should have happened a long time ago.”
“I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis,” American great Billie Jean King, who created the WTA in 1973, said on Twitter.
“The WTA on its own was always Plan B. I’m glad we are on the same page. Let’s make it happen.”
Rafa Nadal, the other member of the so-called ‘Big 3’ alongside Federer and Novak Djokovic, also voiced his support.
“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 organization,” said Nadal, the winner of 19 slams.
Fellow player Nick Kyrgios replied to Federer’s idea with one word: “Yes.”
Former WTA chief executive Anne Worcester called for a merger of the men’s and women’s tours in an interview with Forbes this month.
All professional tennis has been suspended until at least mid-July because of the coronavirus outbreak, plunging the sport into financial problems because of a loss of income from things like ticket sales and media rights.