‘If tennis has one global body, we can fight sports like soccer’

Former world no 8 Jurgen Melzer feels an ATP and WTA merger would beneficial to the sport

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Former World No 8 Jurgen Melzer

Former French Open semi-finalist Jurgen Melzer has put forward his views about the possibility of the ATP and WTA tours merging together as one uniform tennis body.

Ever since Roger Federer made the suggestion through a tweet in April, the tennis world had been sent into a frenzy with a number of players coming out in support of the idea.

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The 39-year-old Austrian too has been in favour of the plan.

Need for global association

“I would say in a perfect world, of course you want to unite tennis and you want to have it under one big leadership. I think that would be perfect,” the former world no 8 said during a Tennis United vodcast.

“If we have a chance of being a global association, all of a sudden we can fight against soccer and all the other big sports in the world. Because right now, what we have, we have the ITF on one side, then we have the ATP, we have the WTA.”

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The ATP has been looking after men’s tennis events since it was formed in September 1972, while the WTA, which takes care of the women’s interests in the sport, was founded by 12-time singles Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King in June 1973.

Separate restarts

The two organisations have also announced separate restarts to the tour, with the WTA starting off at an event in Palermo, Italy on August 3, followed by the ATP returning on August 14 at the Citi Open in Washington DC.

Melzer, a two time men’s doubles Grand Slam champion and single mixed event winner, however asserts that having both the associations merge would make issues like televising the events much easier to deal with.

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“If all the TV rights would be under one big umbrella, how much more power would you have?” he says.

“That’s just one thing. It would be much easier if they could be under one umbrella. But that’s the perfect world. Do we live in a perfect world? No!”

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