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Federer ponders merger of men’s, women’s

The social media posts were met with plenty of enthusiastic replies, including those from Rafael Nadal and some of the world’s top women’s players.

“As you know per our discussions,” Nadal, a winner of 19 Grand Slams, wrote to Federer, “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 one only organisation.”

Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, both recent Wimbledon champions, also gave the thumbs-up to Federer’s idea.

So did Billie Jean King, the American great who founded the WTA in 1973 and tried unsuccessfully to unite the men’s and women’s tours in that decade.

“I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis,” King tweeted in reply to Federer. “The WTA on its own was always Plan B. I’m glad we are on the same page. Let’s make it happen.”

The professional era in tennis started in 1968, and the ATP was founded in 1972 and has run the men’s game since. The WTA united the women’s professional game into one tour.

Federer emphasized he was “not talking about merging competition on the court,” but rather the two governing bodies.

Former WTA CEO Anne Worcester called for a merger of the men’s and women’s tours in an interview with Forbes this month.

All of professional tennis has been suspended until at least mid-July because of the coronavirus outbreak, plunging the sport into financial problems because of a loss of income from things like ticket sales and media rights.

Federer, 38, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February. The Swiss great had planned to be sidelined for at least four months before the outbreak suspended sports around the world. He has tweeted videos of himself practicing during the pandemic.

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