World No.6 and PSA Women's President Sarah-Jane Perry took part in a discussion on BBC World Service's Sportsworld programme over the weekend about the possible merger between the men's ATP and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tours.
Tennis legend Roger Federer recently posted comments on social media speculating whether it would be a good time for the ATP and WTA to consider a merger and since then has sparked debate over the possiblity.
Just wondering…..am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united and come together as one?— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 22, 2020
The PSA and WSA merged together in a historic move for squash back in 2015 and hasn't looked back since with more equal playing opportunities, prize money on the rise and equal prize money on offer at all of the major Platinum events.
The top earning female player on the tour earned $209,998 last season, an 84.9% increase since the integration of the women’s tour into the PSA in April 2015, with her male counterpart earning $257,153, which is up 59.0% over the same time period.
Read what Perry had to say on the matter when she was interviewed at the weekend.
“We had the two separate governing bodies,” said Perry on BBC's Sportsworld show.
“You had the Professional Squash Association running the men’s side and the WSA, the Women’s Squash Association, running the women’s side. More and more of the flagship big events were being held side by side, but you were having to deal with different organisations, as it happens in tennis now.
“I think both sides, from the governing side, felt it would be beneficial and a good time to go ahead with that merger. There was some worry and concerns from both the men’s and women’s side. For the men, they’re worried that it’s going to eat part of their prize money and for the women’s side they are worried they might be looked at as a second thought perhaps. So there were those worries from, particularly the players, but also a big sense of opportunity and positive outlook for the future which the players had.
“Having that one organisation running the whole tour and dealing with those events has been a lot easier to push that equal prize money and a lot of the promoters were more than on board with this and some of the sponsors that pushed it early on, such as J.P. Morgan – they really pioneered that movement in squash and now all of our Platinum events, which are our equivalent to grand slams, all have equal prize money for the men and women.
“The bands, even moving down the tour, are becoming the same. Both tours have seen huge growth since the merger. The women’s tour since 2014 has gone up 89% overall and the men’s 67% so it has been a massively positive thing for the prize money and pushing the women’s up to equality on the prize money has not affected the growth.
“The WTA in itself is a great product and it’s a very established tour, probably more than our squash tour is, but in this current 2020 age I think it would be fantastic to see tennis merge and with people like Roger Federer backing it, I think it would without a doubt be successful if they did decide to merge.”
You can listen to full the BBC show here: BBC World Service Sportsworld.