Last month, Roger Federer had tweeted that the time has come for the women (WTA) and men’s (ATP) circuit to be merged and the suggestion drew support from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Billie Jean King. Also Read - French Open 2020 Will Take Place This Year, Says French Tennis Federation President
Now, WTA chief Steve Simon has said he will not be afraid of a ‘full merger’ and would be the first to support any such proposal. Also Read - If There's Complete Safety For Players, I Will Play Play French Open: Rafael Nadal
“I’m not afraid of the full merger; I never have been,” Simon said in an interview with the New York Times. “I would certainly be the first to support it … Obviously it’s a long and winding road to get there, but I think it makes all the sense in the world.” Also Read - Roger Federer Edges Out Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi to Become World's Highest-paid Athlete in Forbes' List
On his official twitter account, Federer had asked, “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?”
And in reply, King said she has been saying that for a long time and “I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together… Let’s make it happen.”
Despite the work needed to make it happen, Simon reckons that the current situation may hasten the process
“This is a unique time. Crisis and challenges can sometimes provide opportunity as well. There’s going to be no shortage of accountants, tax attorneys, attorneys and everybody else that is involved with it. It would take time, but conceptually it may not take as long. If you agree on the goal, you can usually get things done quicker,” he said.
Simon though said WTA can survive financially and the merger necessarily isn’t to save its future.
“This isn’t about trying to save the WTA,” Simon said. “We’ll be fine, but look, if we’re going to do the right business thing and we’re finally going to bring the sport together, I think the WTA would be very supportive of this concept.”