Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) president, Micky Lawler suggested her desire to unify WTA and ATP, and a single body to govern the sport of tennis. Lawler mentioned the present working schedule of ATP and WTA, and both the bodies do “collaborate closely” at present.
“I think that the closer we’re able to work together, the better it is for the sport,” she expressed her thoughts to SportsPro at the ongoing OTT Summit in Madrid.
“So yes, I would like to see more collaboration and eventually coming together as one governing body, or at least to have umbrella governance of the sport. I think together it is better. That’s how the sport became as popular as it is.”
In tennis, the governance of the sport is revolving ATP, WTA, International Tennis Federation (ITF), the organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments, and national associations. Merging all the associations in the world will be a tedious task, but yes, it is possible. However, after the emergence of a unified governing body, the issues regarding capital distribution will arise.
“I think we should look at it more seriously,” she continued. “On the player side, I know that there isn’t always support for this, but it’s got to be fan-first. We do this for [the players] and they’re the only ones that have the leverage to grow the strength of every stakeholder in the sport.”
The tennis streaming portals, Tennis TV and WTA TV parted ways because ‘neither tour could determine how much value each one brought to the service.’ Leading to this commercial debate prevailed in the association. The same scenario will be once again come into existence, rise capital-related arguments once the ATP and WTA get unified.
Lawler agreed that it is a mammoth piece of business and will be strenuous to implement, but she was optimistic about things falling in place with time if the merging of ATP and WTA is initiated.
“Hopefully we’ll get beyond that,” she said. “But yes, that’s always a discussion, that was also a discussion before we reached equal prize money at the Grand Slams. There are differences but my own hope is that we get to a commercial place where that is no longer a difference and then we can see the benefit of coming together.”
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