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Roger Federer leads call to merge ATP and WTA Tours

Swiss star says merger "probably should have happened" already
Roger Federer
After a shaky start Roger Federer took control to win in four sets (Getty Images)

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer is leading the dialogue for a merger between the ATP and WTA Tours. Federer said "now is the time" for the men's and women's governing bodies to merge while tennis is suspended because of the coronavirus.

He said a merger of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the men's Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) "probably should have happened" and "We can come out of this with two weakened bodies or one stronger body."

Federer floated the idea on Twitter which has received support from a number of top players in men’s and women’s tennis including Rafael Nadal, Diego Schwartzman, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbiñe Muguruza.

Nadal said: "It would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men's and women's tennis in only one organisation."

Tennis officials have also appeared to back the merger, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi saying: "Our sport has a big opportunity if we can come together in the spirit of collaboration and unity.

"Recent cooperation between governing bodies has only strengthened my belief that a unified sport is the surest way to maximise our potential and to deliver an optimal experience for fans on site, on television and online. To that end, I welcome the views of our players."

WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon said "I have long stated that we are at our best as a sport when we can work together, and the recent weeks have highlighted that fact.

"We look forward to continuing discussions on how we can effectively work together to deliver the greatest value to our fans and to our many stakeholders."

Their has been opposition to the idea however, with Australia's Nick Kyrgios tweeting: "We shouldn't merge. Did anyone ask the majority of the ATP what they think about merging with the WTA and how it is good for us?"

In a series of social media posts on Wednesday, Federer added: "I am not talking about merging competition on the court but merging the two governing bodies that oversee the men's and women's professional tours.

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