WTA chief Steve Simon backs idea for a merger with ATP

WTA chief 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.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>The idea of a merged tour has been floated (Victoria Jones/PA)</figcaption>
The idea of a merged tour has been floated (Victoria Jones/PA)

“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.”