Financial equality may have to wait in tennis tours merger

Roger Federer ignited calls for ruling bodies ‘to be united and come together as one’

WTA chief executive Steve Simon supports the concept of a merger with the men's ATP Tour but warned financial disparity would at least initially be a consequence.

Both the WTA and ATP Tours were suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and will not resume until mid-July at the earliest.

Roger Federer ignited calls for the two ruling bodies "to be united and come together as one" in a tweet last month, an idea which has been publicly welcomed by Simon and ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

But WTA chairman and chief executive Simon told the Daily Telegraph: “You certainly can’t go in with those expectations that (financial equality) is immediately there. I think it’s a long-term goal.


“But I think that, by coming together, we are presenting the sport in a way that our fans and our partners and the marketplace will embrace.

“Also, if we were able to get to that stage (of a single merged body), you’d still have a men’s calendar, you’d still have a women’s calendar, you’d still have combined events.

“Not every facility can accommodate a combined field. But over time, if you’re one organisation, you have a lot better chance to resolve.”

Simon believes there are obvious benefits to a potential merger.

“It would keep us from competing against each other, everybody loses with that,” he added. “A merger is a long and winding road. But you would like to think that everybody should be treated equal.”