The prospect of a merger between the ATP and WTA has come to the forground again thanks to Jo Konta who insists – if it does go ahead – it must be a ‘merger’ of equals and not, as the WTA Chief Executive said a fortnight ago, that it would be a long term objective to achieve financial parity.
It would have to be a merger of equals because that’s what we are Jo Konta
Steve Simon told The Telegraph: “You certainly can’t go in with those expectations that it [financial equality] is immediately there. I think it’s a long-term goal. To which Konta counters: “For me, for my comprehension, I don’t understand how it wouldn’t be of equals because if we are then talking about that, would it be us literally saying we are worth less than our male counterparts?
“It would have to be a merger of equals because that’s what we are. I wouldn’t see how right now in today’s age it would be allowed to be called anything else.”
The merger is not a new idea. In fact Billie Jean King wanted that four decades ago but was rebuffed so she implemented Plan B by founding the WTA and establishing the women’s tour.
Konta does support a merger which has gathered momentum after Roger Federer tweeted that the time was right to review the situation.
“Billie Jean King beat him to that a long time ago. So I think it is something that has been something talked about for a long time but having Roger vocalise it drew attention to it,” Konta continued. “I definitely think in the long run it makes sense for it to be one tour; it makes logical sense but I also know there are a lot of moving parts to it, and I know there will be a lot of people who won’t want it to happen, but also a lot of people who do want it to happen.”
AS she concluded, “I think there is a long way between saying this is what should happen and this is what will happen. I am definitely for it and think it makes sense, I guess we will have to see what the people in suits are able to come up with.”
Forty years ago it was the men who resisted Billie Jean King’s approach and it is likely that they will again prove to be the stumbling block despite the support of players in the top flight like Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray though so far, Novak Djokovic has kept surprisingly silent on the subject.
Against are players like Nick Kyrgios who at first supported the move but the main objectors are likely to be the male players who fear that the ATP will cut the prize money to give the women parity.
Some tournament directors are also like to prove troublesome!