‘WTA top players need to speak up’

World No 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wants top players like Serena Williams to speak up more about player causes

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wants women’s tennis to speak up in one voice and for top players, like Serena Williams, to speak up more about player causes.

A lot of important issues like the pay gap in tennis, the potential of an ATP-WTA merger and safety at tournaments once the tour resumes, have emerged during the lockdown period.

Pavlyuchenkova, the world No 30, said that bigger players needed to speak up to make an impact.

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“They do listen to our opinions, but I don’t think it’s possible for a couple of players to completely change the opinions of sponsors and tournaments and make everything change quickly,” said the 28-year-old during a vodcast on Tennis United.

In contrast, players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have always lent a voice on important issues.

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Though Djokovic, the world no 1, is under-fire for his poorly executed Adria Tour, he was the brain behind the idea of the ATP Player fund, which sought to financially help the lower-ranked players.

“I feel like guys, they’ve always been more united,” Pavlyuchenkova added.

“I always hear or I see in the news that Rafa or Djokovic or Roger, they always come up with some comments or they do something.

“I never see anything from our top players in the WTA. They’re quiet, they’re silent. At least just within the WTA, I would like our top players like Serena or somebody to comment and come up and make a voice and step up. Because, I don’t think somebody who is ranked Top 50 can make a huge change.”

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A casual tweet from Federer had woken the tennis world up to the possibility of an ATP-WTA merger.

Even though it seems like a great idea on paper, the concerns within the WTA, as voiced by their CEO Steve Simon, is that it should be a merger rather than a takeover by the financially stronger ATP.

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