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Equal Pay In Tennis

Joseph Murphy discusses a controversial issue in tennis;  equal pay.

The issue of equal pay in tennis is a big talking point whenever a well known competition comes around.  The four Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, the U.S Open, the French Open & the Australian Open) all pay equal amounts to their male and female singles champions. These are substantial prizes, with the highest being 2.43 million for the Australian champs, and the lowest being 1.4 million for the French champs.

The main point used in the argument against equal pay is time; how much longer men spend on the court than women do.  It’s not news to tennis fans that men play the best of five sets while women play the best of three.  One would assume that this is a strong argument; surely it’s unfair that men play far longer matches yet earn the same as women, who play a lot less.  However, spokespeople for women’s tennis have said they are willing to play longer tennis matches if this is a problem, which would invalidate that argument.

Tennis isn’t necessarily a highly male-dominated sport.  If you were to name ten tennis stars it would be very surprising if you didn’t mention at least two or three female players.  Venus and Serena Williams have long been international stars of the sport. Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azerenka are other popular players and many female legends like Martina Navratilova or Billie Jean King are household names.

Another strong argument for equal pay is the audience numbers each draw.  Looking at the 2013 U.S Open finals, the women had more viewers than the men.  Male finals have traditionally drawn larger audiences but as the women’s game becomes more faster-paced and more powerful this is starting to change; the final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azerenka drew 4.9 million viewers while the men’s final between Novak Djokavic and Rafael Nadal drew 2.8 million.  On that basis, surely it would be unfair to have unequal pay if it’s to hard to determine who will bring in a larger audience?

Pundit Arena, Joseph Murphy.

Featured Image By Yann Caradec (Flickr: Novak Djokovic) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.