The president of the WTA, Dutch Mickey Lawler, assumes the “new reality of society and sport” that caused the epidemic. Now focused on the kick-off of the WTA Finals, which will be held for the first time in Latin America, in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, after excluding Covid 19 for the first stage, Shenzhen (China), highlights the existing equality in women’s tennis although it assumes the solidity offered by the presence of a group One of the leading players in the competition.
In an interview with EFE, Lawler highlighted Mexico’s efforts to contribute to the WTA after the difficulties caused by the pandemic and the launch of one of the most important tournaments of the season.
Q: What is the current status of women’s tennis? Are we getting close to normal?
NS. “We are approaching and adapting to the new normal. We have a long way to go and I don’t know if we ever were before the pandemic. But I think we’ll have to mentally get used to this new situation and not think, frankly, of going one day without a mask or without a test. Because it is not worth it and we will be very disappointed. I think that’s what we’re going to live with from now on.
Q: What is the effect?
A: It was very difficult because the whole Asian part was not able to play and it was very difficult economically and for the sponsors. For example, for the WTA Finals, it will take place in Guadalajara when it is usually held in Shenzhen (China). It’s the problems we all face and it’s a huge challenge for all of us who are here.”
Q: A huge boost to tennis in Latin America that has never had a WTA Final.
“Latin America is a continent where tennis is very popular among the great champions. We have great champions from Latin America. Even Leila Fernandez (Australian Open finalist) his father is Ecuadorean. Men’s tennis is also one of the three most watched and most played venues in the region. And there has always been this opportunity. But it is economically more difficult because it competes with regions like Europe and the United States in much more developed and stronger economies. The fact that we can bring this great tournament to Guadalajara, Mexico, is very good news, and in these difficult times, they have been able to They raise their hand and help us and say, come to Mexico, we’ll have a great event together.”
. Q: Is it a good opportunity to further develop events in Latin America?
“Yes of course. We have tournaments in Mexico and Colombia from now on as well as new tournaments in Buenos Aires and Uruguay. We see momentum in this development. And what we are seeing is also a lot of demand from all over the world but in Latin America it is a very important sport and it would be great if we could from the development of events and the presence of the WTA in Latin America”
Q: Will these movements be preserved in the calendar or is there an intention to go back to those that were originally set?
“It’s hard to say now. The changes will have lasting positive results but there are tournaments in Asia that are very important with great history and will definitely come back. Tokyo, Seoul, China… a very important part of the WTA circuit but at the same time the markets that were once will remain. Able to interact and have been able to provide solutions to us is part of our structure and we will continue to grow in this investment in these challenging times”
Q: Women’s tennis now enjoys great equality. Without clear control, Grand Slam titles are distributed among different players. How do you rate the moment?
. The answer: “You can look at it in two ways. What it shows is that there is a lot of depth in women’s tennis and that’s a very good thing because all the matches are played very hard and tennis is at a very high level. Now, consistency in who wins is also important to the development of the players’ brand. Roger and Rafa have won and won, everyone knows who they are.”
“It’s more difficult in women’s tennis. We have Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza… a lot of champions and famous great champions. But the consistency that the men have is still lacking. Although the fight is impressive and this is a very important aspect.”
Q: Which is better, having some references like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic as it happens in the men’s arena or several players aspiring to titles?
. A: It is difficult. On my site I can’t tell you that I prefer this or prefer the other. I remember when it was recorded in women’s tennis and the winners had known each other since Monday. It would be Martina (Navratilova) and Chris (Everett), for example, who caused tennis to start growing and growing because this brand of champions, the fact that everyone knows the names or the people, helps the sport grow. We cannot deny that.
But, on the other hand, I who lived those times and I live these times see the level of tennis very high. I also prefer this. Ideally there is very high tennis with six players win, win and win to be able to replicate and develop this brand. But if we see the results of the past years, we can say no more that we are growing at an accelerated pace and we should be grateful for that.”
Union with ATP
Q: The intention has long been for ATP and WTA to go together. At what point is this desire currently?
“Two very positive things happened to this strategy, which is the only strategy for me. The great advantage of this sport is that men and women are involved in the same stage. We share fans and many things and that makes tennis a unique and fun sport. What happened to ATP presidents Andrea Gaudenzi (ATP President) and Massimo Calvili (ATP CEO) who have been very receptive and open and saw this opportunity at the same time as Covid.”
“We have been working together since March of last year and we have progressed a lot as we are working on the calendar and in other aspects to preserve the sport and continue to develop what we started fifty years ago.”
“We launched a team for marketing, digital and social content and that has yielded very good results. We want to work on other issues together. Operational issues even in mental health and physical health. We are looking at all of this together.”
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