The WTA is almost broke, those were the comments from a number of tennis legends last week as talk again centred on a WTA-ATP merger.

But the ATP is in no hurry to take on a dysfunctional women’s tournament organisation that could go bankrupt by 2026.

Yuri Polsky, Kazakhstan Tennis Federation’s Vice President, was the latest to voice concerns last week, predicting the WTA is struggling to survive.

“They are in a very bad place and could even go bankrupt in 2026 or 2027 if their financial situation doesn’t change,” Polsky said.

“For the WTA it is a matter of survival, for the ATP-a matter of reputation.

“The ATP leadership doesn’t want them to collapse because the optics would be bad. The ATP is in good financial shape, the tour has reserves, the players have retirement funds.”

Polsky is right. A WTA collapse would send shockwaves through tennis – and it would have an effect on the ATP’s ability to attract new sponsorship.

Aryna Sabalenka booked her place in the last four of the WTA Finals in Cancun with victory over Elena Rybakina.

The rumours of financial strife at the WTA have been around for a while, and it’s probably part of the reason why may stars have been calling for a merger.

Roger Federer started his concerns back in 2020 when he ge write on Twitter: “Just wondering… 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?”

But the ATP is in no rush and why should it be? The WTA’s woes are of their own making and the ATP will not want to take on any debts incurred by the women’s game.

Commercially, the ATP has always been the strong of the two and as much as some may argue against, men’s tennis is more sellable than the women’s game.

Can the WTA survive? Maybe, maybe not.

Will women’s tennis survive? Of course it will, but while gender equality is as admirable desire, the commercial realities and the ROI (return on investment) for potential sponsors and/or business partners in professional sport is a very different proposition.

AND if it couldn’t get worse this week for the WTA … CEO Steve Simon was forced to write to players at the WTA finals in Mexico to apologise for what he described as “organisational failures”.

“First and foremost, it is clear that you are not happy with the decision to be here in Cancun. I understand that and you have been heard,” Simon write in a letter that was leaked to media.

“As I have reflected to you, this is not where we expected to be and the decision for this location was based upon a number of complicated factors. It is not a perfect event, we understand the conditions are a challenge and the WTA will of course accept responsibility for that.”

Players only discovered in September that the finals would be held in Cancun and the finals started just two days after the Billie Jean King Cup in Seville.

Jannick Sinner withdrew from the Paris Masters after his match against Mackenzie McDonald ended just before 3am.

WHAT a joke … and well done Casper Ruud for calling out the farcical middle of the night matches players have had to ensure in Paris.

On Tuesday the Jannik Sinner v Mackenzie McDonald clash ended at almost 3am.

Sinner then withdrew before from his third round match on Thursday blaming “fatigue”.

Aussie Darren Cahill, who coaches Sinner, posted on Instagram that he was happy with the victory but criticised “zero care for players’ welfare with Paris scheduling”.

And Ruud waded in: “Bravo atptour way to help one of the best players in the world recover and be as ready as possible when he finished his previous match at 2:37 am this morning 14.5 hours to recover, what a joke.”

Swiss Stan Wawrinka posted: “It’s crazy‍️ tournament doesn’t care and ATP just follow what the tournament will want‍️! Always the same story.”

Ruud also expressed sympathy for American Jenson Brooksby after the latter was banned for 18 months for failing to report his whereabouts at a drugs test.

Ruud said that he thought the punishment of 18 months was too harsh for such a mistake, and that it would cost Brooksby a lot of time and money to get back to his level.

He then went on to describe his own strategy and the legitimate problems many players face when told a test is due.

“Maybe it sounds silly but let’s say I wake up during the night at like 6:15,” The Norwegian said.

“I wake up by myself because I have to pee so much. You’re kind of thinking oh maybe they [doping control] come up at 7 so maybe I shouldn’t go because I want to save it. If I go and empty my bladder at 6:15 maybe I won’t get to pee until like 10. You cannot just pee whenever you want.”

Ruud told Eurosport he felt like he lived “under watch or like in prison” because he had to think twice before doing something as natural as peeing.

LOOKALIKES? Lindsay Davenport’s son Jagger Leach is representing the US in the 2023 Davis Cup Juniors.

IS Andy Murray the next great of the game to call it a day and retire?

Murray admitted on Monday he was not enjoying his tennis after suffering another defeat at the hands of Australian Alex de Minaur in the first round of the Paris Masters.

Murray crashed out 7-6 (5) 4-6 7-5 to the Australian as tempers boiled over, the Brit knocking the drinks bottles and towel off his bench before smashing his racket off the floor.

“I’m not really enjoying it just now in terms of how I feel on the court and how I’m playing,” Murray, now 36, said.

An angry Andy Murray smashes his racket during a frustrating loss in Paris.

“The last five, six months haven’t been that enjoyable, so I need to try and find some of that enjoyment back because playing a match like that there’s not much positivity there.

“When I play a good point, I’m not really getting behind myself and then in the important moments, that will to win and fight that has always been quite a big, big part of my game.”

He is due to represent GB at the Davis Cup finals later this month, but will we see him at Wimbledon again?

IT’S not just tennis in Paris – soccer’s Ballon D’Or ceremony to announce the world’s best player for 2023, was taking place.

And Novak Djokovic was one of the guests at the event, catching up with Argentina star Lionel Messi.

The Serb has kept himself busy in the French capital, a few days earlier he attended the rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa.

Paris picture of the week: Grigor Dimitrov celebrates as he wins his semi-final match over Stefans Tsitsipas.
Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

GERMAN star Alexander Zverev has vowed to fight allegations after he was given a €450,000 ($476,000) fine by a Berlin court for allegedly assaulting a woman in May 2020.

Zverev’s lawyers rejected the accusations in a statement, naming the woman as Brenda Patea, the tennis player’s ex-girlfriend.

The allegations made by Patea “which alone form the basis for the penalty order, have already been refuted by a forensic medical report”, the lawyers said.

In January the ATP closed an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against Zverev.

Zverev has been “accused of physically abusing a woman and damaging her health during an argument” in the German capital three years ago.

DANIIL Medvedev’s non-love affair with Parisian fans continued during the week as the crowd at the Paris Masters kept whistling at him, with the Russian threatening to stop play.

When opponent Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov broke to 5-5 in first set, Medvedev threw away his racket which brought whistles from the crowd.

The Russian, who had previously said he wanted to win over the crowd, lost his temper and stopped play.

“I’m not going to play when they whistle,” Medvedev shouted at the umpire who replied by telling the Russian: “The more you stop, the more it annoys them. The more they whistle.”

Medvedev refused to continue.

“They’re stupid! If they don’t whistle, I’ll play!”, Medvedev said before telling the crowd: “I play guys, but shut your mouths, okay!”

Third seed Medvedev lost to 17th-ranked Dimitrov, 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2).

“When I throw my racket, I’m allowed to get whistled at, it’s a bad reaction,” he told the post match press conference.

“On the other hand, if I serve, and they whistle and applaud at the same time, it’s a bit weird”.

“That’s the public at Bercy, everyone knows it, not everyone likes playing here. I played much better at Bercy when there was nobody there,” he said, mentioning his victory in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For me, it doesn’t connect.”

WHAT a Halloween horror! We can’t still work what Caroline Wozniaki and husband David Lee were doing dressing up for Halloween as … The Flintstones??


Martina Navratilova reacted to the news on social media and expressed her disapproval of Iran’s appointment as the chair, describing it as a “joke.”

“And this is just a joke…,” Martina Navratilova posted on X (formerly Twitter).