FILE PHOTO: Tennis – “The Match In Africa” Exhibition Match – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa – February 7, 2020 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after winning the exhibition match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo
April 22, 2020
By Sudipto Ganguly
(Reuters) – Roger Federer on Wednesday 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 coronavirus 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 said on Twitter.
“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 tennis season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown will continue at least until mid-July, depriving lower-level players, who depend solely on tournament winnings, of the chance to earn a living.
The men’s ATP Tour, the WTA, along with the International Tennis Federation and organisers of the four Grand Slams, are creating a fund to help the lower-level players affected by the shutdown.
(Editing by: Ossian Shine)