In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Billie Jean King makes it clear that a potential WTA/ATP merger must be more than an acquisition.
“We’re not an acquisition,” said King. “The WTA would not be an acquisition. We’d be a full partner in this drive to make our sport better and more valuable.”
Roger Federer has raised the idea of merging men’s and women’s tennis.@andy_murray: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction.” @BillieJeanKing: “When top male players bring it up, people listen… We’re much stronger… if we’re together.” pic.twitter.com/ZXjHYe9usd
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) May 1, 2020
King, who participated in a 20-minute discussion on many topics with Murray and Amanpour, added: “We are much stronger if we are together. From sponsorship to opportunities—we can grow. But what we have to understand is that we have to stay together as a sport, because we are not competing within our sport like a lot of tennis people think. Our job is to be together so we can compete against the other entertainment and other sports.”
Andy Murray gave his thoughts on the subject of a potential merger between the tours.
“This is something that obviously Billie Jean has been wanting to happen for 40 to 50 years,” he said. “She’s the one that really had the vision for all of this and we need to remember that. I think it’s great if more of the male players are seeing it as a positive step for the sport.”
Murray went on to highlight some of the oft-overlooked positives about the current state of professional tennis. “I think we have a very unique sport in that we have the men and the women competing at the biggest competitions together, that doesn’t really happen in any of the other global sports and I see that as a big positive,” he said. “We have equal prize money at those events which I think that’s fantastic and I think that’s very attractive to sponsors.”
Though Murray, like many others, sees many potential hurdles when it comes to a potential merger, he’s happy that the conversations is being pushed forward at the moment. In his opinion there are a lot of reasons for the sport to strive for a more united front.
“We have pretty much a 50/50 audience split between the men and women which again is rare across sports,” Murray says. “I think all of these things are things that we should be celebrating in the sport and sometimes they aren’t and there’s a lot of infighting that goes on with these things and I don’t think that should be the case. I think there’s some issues potentially with a merger as well but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction to start these conversations.”