'No excuse': Male stars' 'upsetting' comments about women's tennis

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
Marat Safin (pictured left) and World No.1 Ash Barty (pictured right). The Russian has appeared to criticise the WTA in a live Instagram chat. (Getty Images)

Former World No.1 Marat Safin and retired star Mikhail Youzhny have hit out at the ATP and WTA merger idea, put in the spotlight from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal last week, after claiming the women’s game does not have the star power.

Safin and Youzhny were talking on an Instagram Live chat and inevitably discussed the debate around whether the ATP and WTA merger should come to fruition.

'NOT COOL’: Eugenie Bouchard's latest fan challenge swiftly backfires

'THEY WON’T STARVE’: Star's shock refusal to help lower-ranked players

Federer and Nadal caused a stir when they said they used their time in isolation from the coronavirus pandemic to discuss the merger of the ATP and the women's body.

But the idea didn’t sit well with everyone, including Aussie Nick Kyrgios, and others who considered the pair were taking the spotlight off advocates such as Billie Jean King who has been pushing for this merger for decades.

However, retired Russians Safin and Youzhny appeared to criticise the women’s game and shoot down the ‘merger’ idea during their chat.

Safin suggested the idea worked as a whole, but only because women’s tennis doesn’t stand up and sell itself if it wasn’t for past and current stars such as Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, according to a translation from Essentially Sport.

Youzhny, the current coach of rising men’s star Denis Shapovalov, appeared to go one step further in his criticism.

Former Russian star Mikhail Youzhny plays a backhand in 2018. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

He appeared to troll the top ranked women - which includes stars as Aussie World No.1 Ash Barty, Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams - claiming he couldn’t name the majority of the World’s Top 10.

“I work in tennis and I can’t name WTA’s Top 10. I probably know those players but I couldn’t tell if they are ranked Top 10 or not,” he said, according to the publication.

Fans on social media were shocked at the comments and slammed the pair for their view on the women’s game.

Federer raises ‘merger’ idea

Federer has sparked a frenzy in the tennis world after calling for the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours to be unified.

WTA founder King joined Federer and Nadal on Wednesday in suggesting “now is the time” to merge the men's ATP and women's body into one umbrella organisation to oversee the two professional tennis tours.

‘MY RIGHT’: Novak Djokovic defends anti-vaccination stance

‘POOR FORM’: Kyrgios blasts tennis' virus relief efforts

“Just wondering ... am 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?” Federer said.

“I am not talking about merging competition on the court, but merging the 2 governing bodies (ATP and WTA) that oversee the men’s and women’s professional tours.”

Federer’s initial tweet garnered 1200 comments and was liked 40,000 times as of Thursday morning.