A first-of-its-kind show that invites tennis players from the ATP and WTA to the table of discussion.
Tennis United was started on April 10th, 2020 in a joined effort by the ATP and the WTA. It is hosted by Grand Slam champions Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Vasek Pospisil. It airs every Friday on both the ATP and WTA websites.
It is a virtual get-together like no other with two powerful entities that seem to usually exclude each other from conversation. This show is definitely a step in the right direction for a unity to finally happen between the ATP and the WTA. It inspired more discussion about the relationship between the two tours after Roger Federer’s viral tweet. He proposed merging the two tours together, because for many, the different ranking systems, tournament categories is confusing. His tweet saw support from his fellow friend and rival Rafael Nadal and women tennis players like Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova and the tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Some see the possibility of merging the ATP and the WTA just as a financial stint to get out of the crisis that was caused by the coronavirus. However, it could be so much more. Not only could these two entities help each other out financially, they could also promote leadership in embracing and understanding the importance of inclusivity in tennis. However, it’s not that simple. If a merge was going to happen, it would increase the operating costs. It’s difficult but not impossible.
These discussions between players prove that this show is more than just entertainment. Mattek-Sands explains that the show aims to have unscripted conversations with players which is going to give them a chance to tell their story, give them a chance to help them get a taste of the spotlight and also promote them and their own brand.
This show gives the players a chance to be vulnerable, to be their own authentic selves. It was created during a time of complete lockdown where people’s spirits were lower than ever. Yet, Mattek-Sands didn’t sit around and complain about the reality the world was in, she created her own. Now, this show offers not only an escape from the current reality, but it also touches upon the topics that need to be brought up, especially now. This is just the beginning of the fight for equality, yet the most important base has been laid out. There is no going back now.