“Always Looks at Bigger Picture”: WTA Chief Back’s Roger Federer’s Proposal of a Merger With ATP

Published 12/05/2020, 9:30 AM EST
A detailed view of an ATP TOUR logo on a tennis net during the semifinal round of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


WTA chief Steve Simon has backed Roger Federer’s idea of a merger between the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis.

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Federer’s idea could be taken forward, says WTA chief

In an interview with tennismajors.com, Simon said it’s an idea that could be taken forward.

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The twenty-time Grand Slam champion recently mooted the idea of a merger between ATP and WTA, saying it would help the two governing bodies recover from the crisis and the financial toll wrought by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Federer’s proposal drew a mixed response from the tennis world.

However, Simon said he does find merit in the idea, adding that the ‘Swiss Master’ had the best interests of the game at heart when he put forward his proposal.

LONDON, ENGLAND: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates victory after his singles match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during Day Five of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“We’ve athletes who feel the same way”: WTA chief on Federer’s merger proposal

“Well, knowing Roger, it’s not a surprise to me because I think he always looks at the bigger picture of things,” the WTA chief said.

He claimed top women players and the ATP Player Council have also been thinking along similar lines.

“I can share that we have athletes that would feel the same way. 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.”

CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 15: A net with the WTA logo during the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 15th, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“So I think it’s something that I certainly believe in, us working strongly together,” Simon said.

Challenges could be overcome if two bodies come together: WTA chief

He did concede to certain challenges in running the women’s game, especially in the light of the pandemic, but said these could be overcome if the two bodies were to come together.

 

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“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,” Simon said.

Respect Roger’s thinking says WTA chief

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He said the idea of a merger has also been in his mind. “It is something we’ve talked about many, many times. And again, I think it was very interesting at the time.

“I think no one was ready for it or expecting it at the time. But it shows that Roger does think independently and on his own, which I think we all respect. And, you know, it created conversation. I think that’s the best way you can describe it and where it went,” Simon said.

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Both the WTA and ATP seasons were hit hard by the pandemic, with bulk event cancellations and player pullouts citing concerns around the pandemic.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1010 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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