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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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John McEnroe Calls ATP, WTA Merger ‘Inevitable’ 

  • The tennis legend thinks the men’s and women’s tours will merge in the next five years.
  • The ATP and WTA reportedly held merger talks in 2021 around a $600M deal with private equity firm CVC.
McEnroe believes the tennis tours will merge within five years.
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The WTA Tour outlined a plan earlier this week to reach full pay equity with the men’s ATP Tour by 2033. However, John McEnroe believes the two tours will merge much sooner.

“Now you see a situation where I believe in the next five years you’re going to have the men and women tour together. I believe they’re going to merge at some point soon,” said McEnroe, a seven-time men’s Grand Slam champ. “It does seem it’s sort of inevitable at some stage.”

McEnroe made his comments in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday before ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon. During the call, fellow tennis legend turned ESPN broadcaster Chris Evert said that not enough men’s tennis players have publicly supported the fight for pay equity in tennis.  

“It sure helps when men, like John McEnroe, high-profile men, support us, too. It seems like it’s 90% of the women talking about this,” Evert said of tennis’s pay equity bout. “There’s so many psychological things. But I wish more men, especially men tennis players, would support us vocally.”

In June 2021, Sky News reported that private equity CVC was in talks to invest in a $600 million deal to merge the ATP and WTA. The merger would’ve reportedly created a single entity called One Tennis, with CVC holding a minority interest in the combined company. 

CVC partnered with the WTA in March to invest $150 million for a 20% stake in the Tour’s new commercial vehicle called WTA Ventures. In March, WTA CEO Steve Simon said CVC’s investment “doesn’t prohibit, in any way, from us continuing to have discussions with the ATP and potentially doing a bigger deal with the ATP involved,” according to the Associated Press.  

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