Tennis

Time to merge ATP and WTA, says Roger Federer

Roger Federer has called for a merger between the men's ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women's circuit, as tennis wades through a lengthy Covid-19 shutdown with lower-level professionals in deep financial crisis.

"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 winner of 20 Grand Slam singles titles tweeted yesterday .

"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..."

The 38-year-old Swiss argued that through this merger, tennis could emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis which has seen the tennis season halted, with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War II and the French Open pushed back to the end of September.

"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 added.

Among those to back Federer's proposal were his long-time rival Rafael Nadal, Australia's Nick Kyrgios, and two-time Grand Slam champions Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova, and the legend Billie-Jean King.

The shutdown of the tennis season will continue until mid-July at least.- REUTERS

Tennis