Roger Federer has been using the Coronavirus lockdown to do some thinking. This week he surprised the tennis community with a big idea that could change pro tennis forever. What do you think of his proposal and how well do you think tennis is placed to emerge from the crisis?
Federer's Big idea
Roger Federer took to Twitter to kick start a debate on the future organsiation of the Pro Tour by merging the men's and women's governing bodies. He suggests:
Perhaps it is no surprise that tennis greatest player of all time (arguably, if you must), a self-professed historian of the game, and an innovator who brought us the Laver Cup should be the one to seize the opportunity of the pandemic crisis to imagine a new future for tennis.
Federer's idea, announced in a series of tweets, is to merge the ATP and the WTA, the organisations that separately represent the men and women on the pro tennis tour. Rafa Nadal immediately confirmed his support, "I completely agree that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men's and women's tennis in only one organisation."
World number one Simona Halep also lent her support while, somewhat mysteriously, Serena Williams indicated in a tweet subsequently deleted that it was an idea "that was not meant to be shared yet"! Crucially, Billie Jean King, the WTA founder declared it's what she wanted all along: "'I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis."
On the face of it, Federer's idea may not seem that radical, but the timing of the proposal gives it huge significance. When it has been discussed before, merging the Tours has been seen as a move to administrative efficiency that could unlock marketing clout and heal long-term rifts between the men's and women's game. But now, in a post-covid-19 world, it could be essential to the short-term financial health of the game and the building of a platform secure enough to face an even bigger threat to tennis - climate change.
Or is that an over-reaction?
Tell us what you think about the idea of combining the men's and women's tour, and help us take a snap-shot assessment of the state tennis in this time of crisis.