30 April 2020

Merge the ATP and WTA our players agree, and get ready for post-lockdown tennis!

Many thanks to everyone who took the trouble to complete our questionnaire last week. Top findings are that the organisation of the men's and women's pro game should be merged, lower-ranked players should be paid more, and post-lockdown, you want to play as much as before - or even more!

Is Roger Federer right? Should the governing bodies for men’s and women’s tennis merge? Yes! That was the overwhelming view of the players who completed our questionnaire last week. Only two people disagreed and one player wanted to go further. As well as merging the ATP and WTA, he also wanted the ATP Cup and the Davis Cup, the two so called “World Cups” of tennis, to be combined but admitted, “That will be difficult!”

Post lockdown demandIt was great to hear that the lockdown has had no effect on your enthusiasm for tennis, with opinion almost evenly split on whether you wanted to play the same as before (53%) or even more (47%)! No one wanted to play less. (We're keeping that question open, so if you haven't already told us, complete the survey below.)

Suggested tweaks at the local level include moving to a shorter format for singles matches so “less court time is needed, more matches can be played, and there is less demand on family time” and a database of players' contact details (with their permission), to more easily arrange practice matches.

As far as the pro game is concerned, 84% of you are confident it will quickly get back to normal but 25% think climate change will force radical re-thinking longer term: 

“Tennis will have to adapt as it becomes increasingly hard to justify large amounts of travel for (it has to be said) completely trivial reasons such as playing tennis matches.”

Among the other changes you would like to see, the idea that prize money is more evenly distributed “to make life affordable for those further down rankings” came up many times and one woman raised the thorny issue of equal prize money for men and women. “I do not think women who only play 3 sets can expect to receive the same amount of prize money as the men." (Women are paid the same prize as men in Grand Slams but generally considerably less in other tournaments). 

Other ideas included:

  • Talent development should be better organised, more inclusive and less elitist
  • Please sort out the club level competition to ensure attractiveness of tennis to younger players
  • Stop the gradual drift towards shorter formats
  • Make tennis more accessible in schools
  • Count senior points as well as junior points in the open rankings and encourage competition to be more available between juniors and seniors to benefit both age groups
  • Change the way in which Wimbledon tickets are distributed – or not – as the case may be
  • Abolish a let for a serve that touches the net
  • Make tennis more sustainable
You may submit this form anonymously, but if you are happy for us to contact you to follow up your ideas, please leave your name and email address.
Let us know why you might being playing less... For instance, have you taken up a different activity, like running, will you be too busy with work, or have you simply fallen out of love with tennis!