Former US Open winner Andy Roddick has sent out a warning that the rumoured tennis Super League which might unite the men’s Masters 1000 events and the four Grand Slams into a single elite circuit could mean the death of the ATP and WTA..
The American who has become something of a tennis oracle in recent years with a podcast and opinions on all issues in the sport, is worried that reports the project will be funded by tainted Saudi petro-bucks could turn tennis on its head.
The reported palace coup is apparently only in the planning stages, but is starting a buzz in the power broker back-rooms of the sport.
The Saudis are said to be in talks to try and bring in the season-ending WTA Finals, which have been all but homeless since the Tour pulled from China due to the COVID pandemic and the disappearance of former player Peng Shuai.
They have already secured the ATP NextGen Finals for players under age 20 which will be staged in Riyadh.
Roddick, 41, last American man to win a Grand Slam when he claimed the 2003 Open in New York, alerted the world to his concerns on his podcast, Served with Andy Roddick.
He said that social conditions in Saudi – reportedly eager to host a tennis showpiece on a continuing basis – would be a slap in the face – and a possible danger – to any gay players who might want to compete in a country where homosecuality is illegal.
“Homosexuality is illegal (there), but we have openly homosexual tennis players. (Daria) Kasatkina said it openly last year,” Roddick said.
“If she puts herself in there, are we telling her to take a week off from her sexuality? How do we protect our own players, whose life choices are considered criminal when they enter this place?”
The former world No. 1 suggested that even if the long-odds tennis shakeup came to pass, players would still compete in the Grand Slams and Masters no matter what.
“I don’t think the players will give up playing in tournaments, with something they dreamed of since they were six years old. It would be very difficult for me not to do it. Personally,
“I would have to play the Grand Slams, I would play the US Open.
“If somehow that super circuit causes them to absorb the four Grand Slams, they will have it all.
“The main values of the ATP are its infrastructure, its history, the classification system and its relationship with the players.
“At the moment they have the tournaments, create their own ranking and the Grand Slams are part of this new investment, I don’t think they will be competing circuits, the ATP circuit would be finished.”