Like many other players, Roger Ferderer has been vocal on social media during the current lockdown. Notable were his proposals for the unification of the two tours and for the ATP and WTA to be under one organisation.
“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?” he asked 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,” he added.
“It probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time. It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories.” he said. The lack of clarity has often been a criticism of the WTA tournament formats, which don’t follow the ATP in providing the points totals and an easy to follow hierarchy.
The perception would be that the ATP may be less favourable of the idea due to having the stronger bargaining position of the two. However, this is not a view shared by the ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “Recent cooperation between governing bodies has only strengthened my belief that a unified sport is the surest way to maximize our potential and to deliver an optimal experience for fans on-site, on television and online.” he told CNN.
It is sure to be a proposal that builds up steam as a return to the tour nears and one that should strongly be considered to better wield the promoting and bargaining power of both entities. It is no surprise that the sport and is at its most appealing with the events where both tours are present. That includes the slams but just as notably, the likes of Indian Wells and Miami – a favourite of fans and players alike. They are the ones constantly pushing the boat out and can set a blueprint for what joint events under a united organisation may be able to achieve.