WTA open to collaborating with ATP for new elite tournament circuit
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is reportedly open to exploring the possibility of joining forces with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to establish a new premier tournament circuit.
This proposed collaboration, which initially surfaced in November, envisions the creation of a new top-tier ‘Premium Tour’ consisting of 11 to 14 combined tournaments alongside the four grand slams. Concurrently, the existing ATP and WTA Tour events would form a secondary development tour accommodating both male and female players outside the top-100 rankings.
According to The Telegraph, WTA chief Steve Simon is receptive to the concept, citing its potential to ensure equitable pay and recognition for female athletes throughout the entire tennis calendar. Momentum behind the initiative reportedly grew following presentations by Tennis Australia’s Craig Tiley and United States Tennis Association’s Stacey Allaster to leading players during the Australian Open.
Simon’s willingness to engage in discussions coincides with mounting pressure on the WTA regarding the potential relocation of its season-ending WTA Finals to Saudi Arabia. A decision on this matter has been postponed following concerns raised by women’s tennis icons Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova regarding the country’s track record on women’s rights.
The ATP, as per The Telegraph, exhibits less enthusiasm towards the proposed merger, attributed partly to its stronger financial standing and reported friction between ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi and Tennis Australia’s Tiley. The men’s tennis governing body is said to be exploring its own strategies to overhaul the sport’s premier tours and has initiated discussions with the WTA regarding a potential commercial integration.
While major tournaments have invested substantial resources in consultancy and polling, they are expected to establish a dedicated working group to address these proposals by March. The ATP has deferred its annual tournament meeting to May.
“All the stakeholders in tennis have been working on a solution for the game,” Tiley said.
“And it’s a journey to get to that point. The slams are very united in their resolve, but it’s a complex problem to solve. If it wasn’t complicated, it would have been solved already.
“These ideas aren’t new. But what may be new is the motivation to give it a go, and to see if there’s that opportunity. But there’s never any guarantees [that the plan will be adopted].”
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