Roger Federer made a plea for women’s tennis equality on Wednesday, calling for the merger of the two gender-specific governing bodies that oversee the sport’s professional tours.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who is recovering from knee surgery while sports around the world have been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, expressed his opinion in a string of posts on Twitter.
“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?” Federer wrote, sparking a flurry of responses from fans and fellow players.
The professional era in tennis started in 1968, and the ATP was founded in 1972 and has run the men’s game since. The WTA was founded in 1973, uniting the women’s professional game into one tour.
The idea proposed by Federer, and others before him, would be to combine the two into a single body that deals with both men and women.
“It probably should have happened a long time ago,” Federer wrote. “But maybe now is really the time.”
The social media posts were met with plenty of enthusiastic replies, including from Rafael Nadal and some of the world’s top female players.
“As you know per our discussions,” Nadal, a winner of 19 Grand Slams, wrote to Federer, “I completely agree that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men’s and women’s tennis in one only organisation.”
Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, both recent Wimbledon champions, also gave the thumbs-up to Federer’s idea.
So did Billie Jean King, the American great who founded the WTA and tried unsuccessfully to unite the men’s and women’s tours that decade.
“I agree, and have been saying so since the early 1970s. One voice, women and men together, has long been my vision for tennis,” King tweeted in reply to Federer. “The WTA on its own was always Plan B. I’m glad we are on the same page. Let’s make it happen.”
There has never been a united tennis tour, but male and female players do play at the same tournaments several times each year, including at the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Much of the season, however, it completely separate.
“It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories,” Federer said in a response to a reader’s comment.
He emphasized he was “not talking about merging competition on the court” but rather the two governing bodies.
“These are tough times in every sport,” Federer said, “and we can come out of this with 2 weakened bodies or 1 stronger body.”
Former WTA chief executive Anne Worcester called for a merger of the men’s and women’s tours in an interview with Forbes this month.
All professional tennis has been suspended until at least mid-July because of the coronavirus pandemic, plunging the sport into financial problems because of a loss of income from things like ticket sales and media rights.
The 38-year-old Federer had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February. The Swiss great had planned to be sidelined for at least four months before the outbreak suspended sports around the world. He has tweeted videos of himself practicing during the pandemic.
More AP Tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Poll: Canadians OK with being benched as NHL playoff venue – Sports – Castanet.net
It looks like hockey fans will be able to cheer on their favourite NHL team this summer but Canadians have issued a collective shrug about whether the Stanley Cup is hoisted on their home ice.
Less than one-quarter of those who took part in a recent survey said it was very important that a Canadian city be host to some of the playoffs.
The web survey, conducted by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, found 47 per cent thought it wasn’t important that the puck drop in a Canadian arena.
The NHL plans to resume its 2019-20 season, brought to a halt in March by the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played in two hub cities.
Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto are among the 10 possible locations, but Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place and could scuttle the prospect of hockey north of the 49th parallel.
The survey was conducted May 29 to 31 among 1,536 Canadians and 1,002 Americans, 18 or older, who were randomly recruited from an online panel.
The hockey question, limited to Canadian respondents, revealed 24 per cent felt it was very important for a Canadian city to play host, while 20 per cent said it was somewhat important.
Thirty-five per cent said it was not important at all, 12 per cent felt it was somewhat unimportant and nine per cent didn’t know.
The fact the NHL plans to bar spectators from the stands during playoff games due to COVID-19 “probably cooled off a few respondents,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.
FIFA calls on organizers not to sanction in-game gestures supporting George Floyd – CBC.ca
FIFA urged soccer competition organizers on Monday to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity with George Floyd during matches.
The recognition of the “depth of sentiment” over Floyd’s death came in a rare statement by FIFA telling the global game to show flexibility and not enforce laws of soccer it helps to set.
Players used weekend games in Germany to reveal messages demanding justice for Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after he pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck in Minneapolis.
Germany’s soccer federation announced earlier Monday that it was assessing whether to sanction the players for breaking laws of the game that prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment.
WATCH | German league players show support for George Floyd:
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case,” the governing body said in a statement.
FIFA controls half of the eight votes on the International Football Association Board, with the other four held by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A law change in 2014 — proposed by England — led to players being banned from revealing personal statements on undergarments.
England winger Jadon Sancho was booked while playing for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday for removing his jersey — a yellow-card offence — only so he could reveal a T-shirt with a “Justice for George Floyd” message.
WATCH | Canadian athletes speak against racism:
Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi displayed the same message on a T-shirt after scoring in the same game on Sunday but was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. Three other officers were also at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.
On Monday, after the Deutscher Fussball-Bund said it was assessing the players’ actions, Cologne forward Anthony Modeste became the latest to make a gesture after scoring against Leipzig. He stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.
Cologne said it was “a clear signal” against racism from Modeste.
WATCH | ESPN’s Howard Bryant reflects on Kaepernick’s preaceful protest:
DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.
“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin colour, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin colour, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.”
The expressions of protest are being investigated by the German soccer federation’s control body.
“As is the case internationally,” federation vice-president Rainer Koch said, “the game itself should remain free of political statements or messages of any kind.”
FIFA’s awareness of the depth of feeling over the racial inequalities highlighted by Floyd’s death comes amid ongoing criticism soccer is not doing enough to eradicate or punish racism.
“FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours,” the Zurich-based governing body said. “FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.”
UFC star Jon Jones confronts vandals during George Floyd protest in Albuquerque – GIVEMESPORT
UFC star Jon Jones took to the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday night to confront vandals at a Black Lives Matter protest.
Jones has made news in the UFC world recently by vacating the light heavyweight belt but turned his attentions to more pressing matters at the weekend.
The 32-year-old shared footage on his Instagram account that shows him approaching vandals who were spray painting the city.
The protests were sparked by the death of American George Floyd while in police custody last week.
The clip of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes shocked the world and has led to people challenging the injustice towards black people.
But Jones was eager for the protests to be peaceful and he was seen asking the vandals to hand over their spray cans.
He added a caption that read: “Is this s*** even about George Floyd anymore?!? Why the f*** are you punk ass teenagers destroying our cities!??
“As a young black man trust me I’m frustrated as well but this is not the way, we are starting to make a bad situation worse.
“If you really got love for your city (505), protect your s***. All you old heads need to speak up, call your young family members and tell them to come home tonight.”
Several sports stars have paid tribute to Floyd, with Bundesliga football players making gestures in support of the American at the weekend.
On Saturday, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a ‘Justice for George armband’.
And on Sunday, both Marcus Thuram and Jadon Sancho honoured Floyd after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
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