Roger Federer Suggests Merging ATP, WTA Governing Bodies Amid COVID-19 Hiatus

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2020

Roger Federer thanks the crowd after winning 3 sets to 2 against Rafael Nadal in their exhibition tennis match held at the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Halden Krog/Associated Press

Tennis legend Roger Federer believes there is a way for the sport to "come out of" the coronavirus pandemic with one stronger body instead of two weaker bodies.

He posed the idea of merging the governing bodies of the ATP and WTA in a series of tweets Wednesday, suggesting men's and women's tennis should "be united and come together as one."

He said it "should have happened a long time ago" and explained that wouldn't mean merging the on-court competition during tournaments.

Federer also said: "It's too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories."

He is not the only tennis great who feels this way, as Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza responded in agreement:

The Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated) noted the ATP was founded in 1972 and has run the men's game since, while the WTA was founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 and has run the women's game since.

King remains a major voice in the sport and was emphatic in her agreement with Federer as well.

"I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s," she tweeted. "One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis. The WTA on its own was always Plan B. I'm glad we are on the same page. Let's make it happen."

Major stars from the past like King and the current game like Federer, Nadal, Halep and Muguruza getting behind the idea would surely provide momentum and help usher in a new era of tennis.

Despite the two governing bodies, men and women do play at the same tournaments a number of times each year, most notably at the four Grand Slam events.

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