Tennis greats Billie Jean King and Rafael Nadal have backed Roger Federer’s call for a merger of men’s and women’s governing bodies, but Aussie big mouth Nick Kyrgios has roundly rejected the idea.
Federer said in a series of tweets a merger of the Women’s Tennis Association and the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals “probably should have happened a long time ago”.
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?
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 22, 2020
Many leading stars of the game have backed the idea, including former Wimbledon champions Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza, but the controversial Kyrgios wasn’t impressed.
“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?” Federer asked his 12.7 million Twitter followers.
King, who was instrumental in establishing the WTA in 1973, agreed.
“I have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together… Let’s make it happen,” she tweeted.
Nadal posted: “I completely agree that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men’s and women’s tennis in one only organisation.”
Federer and Nadal both argued a merger wold help tennis recover from the coronavirus shutdown.
“These are tough times in every sport and we can come out of this with 2 weakened bodies or 1 stronger body,” Federer wrote.
He added the current system was “too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories”.
Muguruza tweeted, “Yes, would be a good idea”. And two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova added: “Hands up if you agree with @rogerfederer,” alongside a raised-hand emoji.
But Kyrgios was not convinced, adding that players should be consulted.
“Did anyone ask the majority of the ATP, what they think about merging with the WTA and how it is good for us?” tweeted the world No. 40.
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said a merger would be lucrative for tennis.
“So is there a way where you bring those seven governing bodies together and you find a solution for a better a future, a future that puts more revenue into the system because the value’s higher when combining the men and the women,” Tiley told AAP.
“There’s an opportunity to leverage off the asset of each other and success of each other. The objective of global sport should be ensuring that the lower-ranked players get paid more money, that there’s more players making a living out of the game.
“So there has to be some sort of redistribution of the wealth or more revenue in the system – and more revenue in the system comes from aggregation and joining together.”