Close to a year ago, Roger Federer had floated the idea of an ATP-WTA merger. At that time, many of his peers and former players had thrown their weight behind the concept and lauded Federer for shining the spotlight on what was essentially Billie Jean King's long-standing initiative.
But the pandemic and subsequent shutting down of the tour meant that the idea never took off, and Federer's absence from the sport didn't help either. Now that the 39-year-old has returned to the tour, however, talks about the merger seem to be gathering pace again.
After his win over Dan Evans on Wednesday, Roger Federer was asked to provide an update on the ATP-WTA merger. And Federer re-iterated that such a step would be 'beneficial' for both the ATP and the WTA.
While admitting that the pandemic had slowed down the initiative, Federer added that 'compromises' would be needed from ATP and the WTA to make the merger a possibility.
"I believe it would be beneficial for both tours to be together," Federer said. "But I feel like it's been put a little bit on the back-burner... it will need some compromises on both sides but it would be a great thing for our sport."
It is not entirely clear what compromises Roger Federer was referring to. But if past indications are anything to go by, the Swiss was possibly alluding to the differences in the payment structure of the ATP and WTA tours.
Since WTA players do not receive as much prize money as their counterparts on the ATP tour, many female players had voiced concerns about a potential merger. According to them, equality in all areas would have to be the foundation of any merger.
An ATP-WTA merger is still far from being a reality, but with Roger Federer back on the tour, we can expect talks to start soon.
No one is going to do the running for you, you have to do it yourself: Roger Federer
Roger Federer also talked at length about his performance against Dan Evans. Despite being visibly rusty with his shot-making, Federer looked at ease with his footwork during the match.
Many - including Federer himself - had feared that his knee would cause problems, especially in a long match. But the joint stood firm, allowing Federer to gracefully glide across the court even towards the closing stages.
In his post-match interview, Roger Federer acknowledged that he needs to put in the hard yards with his feet if he wishes to do well on his comeback.
"No one is going to do the running for you, you have to do it yourself," Federer said. "You can't be substituted. If I don't run, I'm not going to win any more points, it's that simple."
The 39-year-old - who will next take on Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday - also revealed that he doesn't like taking ice baths. An ice bath is a popular modern method that aids the muscle-recovery process after an intense training session or match.
"You're talking to an old school guy here," Federer said. "I've done one ice bath and I didn't like it. I'm not going to do that again."