Greg Rusedski backs ATP-WTA merger calls
Last Updated: 28/04/20 10:15am
Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski has added his voice to the calls for the men's and women's tours to combine.
Roger Federer called for a merger between the two governing bodies on Wednesday on social media, with the men's ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi and his women's WTA Tour counterpart Steve Simon both welcoming the suggestion.
Just wondering…..am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united and come together as one?— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 22, 2020
"I think it would be a good idea," Rusedski told Sky Sports News. "If you look at the biggest events in the world right now, all the four majors they do it.
"The Masters series in Miami, Indian Wells, and Rome, they also have them as combined events. And that's a good thing for the sport. If you put the men's and women's games together, I think it's a better product. And I think it's better for the fan."
But how hard would it be to implement in practice?
"Well it's a very simple formula, where you have the head of the WTA sit down with the head of the ATP," he said. "They get together, they try to schedule the events together and make the products work together.
"You've got a lot of up-and-coming superstars in the women's game, with Coco Gauff who we saw upset Venus Williams, had that great run at Wimbledon last year. You have [Bianca] Andreescu, the Canadian who won the US Open who's a youngster as well, and then you have Federer, Nadal, Murray, all the great champions.
If you had them all on one menu, at the one time, I think it would be brilliant. So I think it is a possibility. Federer has been talking about it a lot, and so has Rafa."
Can Murray benefit from the break in play?
"Hopefully his body comes back, but to challenge week in, week out with Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas is going to be hard," he added.
"Can he win matches? Can he possibly win a Tour event? Yes he can do so. But to win Slams, that's three out of five sets, seven matches, that's a little bit difficult. It's possible he can get to a quarter-final, fourth round, but to go all the way with the surgeries he's had, that's a big ask.
"But I hope he proves me wrong, like he's done on several occasions."
Merger calls gathering pace
Meanwhile, Australian Darren Cahill, coach of two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep, is another who has rowed in behind the two tours coming together.
"I think, hypothetically, it would be a pretty good position for a tennis player to be in, because you know that every single decision being made is made in the best interest of the game," Cahill told the National newspaper.
"At the moment, as a fan of tennis, if you want to try to follow tennis, whether it's Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the WTA, the ATP, smaller events, there are so many different platforms a fan has to subscribe to and it's confusing.
"Social media becomes much easier as well, if the tours are merged. Instead of competing against each other for a social media space, that becomes all one."
Issues over equal prize money and equal standing are roadblocks that need to be crossed, Cahill said.
"At the moment the men command a little more at the negotiating table when we're talking about TV rights," he added.
"I think, to a large extent, everyone will take this. Obviously there would be some resentment from some male players but the majority I think would see the benefits and understand that this is the right thing to do."