Merger can help tennis emerge stronger from Covid-19, say top players

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LONDON: Roger Federer called for a merger between the two governing bodies on social media last week, with the men’s ATP Tour Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, and his women’s WTA Tour counterpart Steve Simon, both welcoming the suggestion.

Tennis can emerge stronger from its lengthy shutdown due to the novel coronavirus if the idea of merging the men’s and women’s tours becomes a reality, multiple Grand Slam winners Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova have told media.

The tennis season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hiatus will continue at least until mid-July as countries have shut borders and gone into lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

Roger Federer called for a merger between the two governing bodies on social media last week, with the men’s ATP Tour Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, and his women’s WTA Tour counterpart Steve Simon, both welcoming the suggestion.

“I think the advantages of a merger would be unifying the sport, and being stronger together,” former world number one Halep said.

“If we have one product, one brand and everyone working together to achieve the same goals, the future of tennis could be very bright after we come out of this crisis.” Currently TV viewers need different pay-TV platforms to watch tennis matches and a merger of the Tours could simplify television contracts and sponsorship deals.   —Agencies

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