Just after the pandemic began, Roger Federer started a very valid conversation on whether the men’s and women’s tour should unite. WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon believes that the WTA and ATP working together would be the ‘right thing to do.’
“I think it’s something that I certainly believe in, us (ATP and WTA) working strongly together,” Simon said in an interview with the Tennis Majors.
“There’s obviously challenges and a lot of business issues that make it challenging at times to get it across. But I think the more that we do it and the more we keep pushing that direction, it clearly is the right thing to do.”
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?
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 22, 2020
In April, about a month after the Coronavirus outbreak suspended the tennis tours, 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?”
The ATP is the men’s governing body while the WTA looks after the women’s tour. Apart from the Grand Slams and few of the Masters events, the two tours carry on separately. A lot of players and experts backed Federer’s idea of unifying the Tour so that the body could have a better bargaining power.
It has become even more pertinent now with the financial setbacks the game has suffered during the year.
In one major change for next year, the WTA has aligned its tournament levels with the ATP so as to make it easier for fans to follow the sport.
“I think a lot should be read into it,” said Simon of the WTA’s new tournament structure.
“Andrea (Gaudenzi, the ATP chairman) has spoken to it and I have as well, that the more we work together, the better. I think this is a perfect example.
“Through this last year, I think the entire sport has worked closer than it ever has together. I think situations like this do bring people together and it’s been positive. And I think you’re going to see the ATP and the WTA doing more and more together, which I think is something very, very positive.”
Simon believes that the ATP and WTA merging would have the vote of approval of the leading women’s players too.
“If you talked to Serena (Williams) or Venus (Williams) or any of them, you would hear some similar comments and our Player Council would love to see us working together, too,” he said.
A merger between the ATP and WTA may still be a pipe dream, but the two tours seem to be collaborating more than ever before.