During the first weeks of the pandemic, Roger Federer pitched the idea of a potential merger between ATP and WTA. The Swiss phenomenon was in fact of the opinion that such an initiative would help tennis in one of the most complicated moments in its recent history.
Unbeknownst to the 20-time Grand Slam champion, the legendary Billie Jean King had had the same idea as her way back in 1968, reaffirming her desire even in the 1970s. However, the proposal had always been rejected due to a long series of economic and organizational factors.
Several players and insiders have expressed their support for Federer’s tweet, but for the moment there is no progress on the issue. During a recent interview with telegraph.co.uk, Billie Jean King explained why Federer’s tweet managed to make more noise than all previous attempts made.
Billie Jean King on Roger Federer
“Roger Federer and I talked that day, actually – after he tweeted,” Billie Jean King said. “He said, ‘I guess I didn’t realize you thought about this or wanted this a long time ago’, and I said ‘yeah’
I was laughing”. King bluntly put forth that a man would have more listeners than a woman – and especially more so if he’s the ‘greatest ever’. I said, ‘They’ll listen to you because you’re a guy and because of who you are.’
I mean Federer, come on, the greatest ever and all that,” King added. “People will listen to men a lot more than women – I don’t have to like that, but it’s true. I said it would be great if you would keep it going, but I think he’s let it drop,” King went on.
“I wish he would push it, but I don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes”. After this year’s Australian Open, the Swiss Maestro underwent knee surgery. However, he was still going to return within the year until his recovery got complicated.
He went under the knife again and that forced him to end his 2020 season completely. While it was terrible to hear that Roger wouldn’t be playing in 2020, there was some good news. The Swiss Maestro did not indicate in any way that he will be retiring soon and the reason for this is probably his Grand Slam record.
For a long time now, Federer has been holding this record. However, his rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are incredibly close to equaling him. He needs to extend his lead as soon as possible and he is planning to do it when he returns in 2021.