Gender inequlity still exists in world of tennis
Gender inequlity still exists in world of tennis
By Helene Bonnard
Once again that we see wta players still make less than men. French Open issued new total prize money is going up 6 percent to $14.2 million, the French Tennis Federation said Tuesday. The men's champion will earn $915,180 and the women's champ will earn $892,300..
The French Open, like Wimbledon, pays more prize money to men. At the other two Grand Slams, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, the pay is equal.
This year is the third consecutive year prize money has increased at the French Open, which runs May 26-June 8. The overall men's increase is 7.7 percent; the increase for the women is 7.6 percent.
Last year, Wimbledon, along with the French and Australian Opens, paid less prize money to women than men. Among the big four championships, only the US Open paid equally. Wimbledon's prize money for the men's champion was $$756,000 (£525,000) , while the women's winner gained $700,000 (£486,000).
Those who oppose equal pay say men work harder than women, so the equal pay for equal work yardstick does not apply. They point out that in major tournaments men must win three sets to win a match versus two sets for the women. They charge that women's early-round results are almost always predictable and no fun. (Jimmy Connors once said that women's tennis was so boring they should play the finals on the first day; Pat Cash called women's tennis "two sets of rubbish." Britain's Tim Henmen once termed women players "greedy.") "We do surveys of all the people who come on a regular basis and, in three surveys over the past 10 years, 70 percent of the people say that first and foremost the thing they want to watch is men's singles," Wimbledon chairman John Curry once stated in 1999, trying to justify the club's policy to pay men more.
"You wanna know my opinion?" wrote former champion John McEnroe who once expressed his opinion about this issue.
"If I were advising the guys, I'd tell them to take the equal prize money - while they still have a chance.... In the meantime, the women are carrying the promotional load and bringing fans through the turnstiles. They should be paid accordingly."
In Miami, Gender equality is still lacking at tournament. Agassi received a $500,000 winner's check for his efforts, which means he collected roughly $7,000 for every minute he spent on the Stadium court at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, whereas Serena Williams needed three sets and two hours to repel Jennifer Capriati and reap the $393,000 winner's check. Williams, from Palm Beach Gardens, earned roughly $3,200 a minute.
When Buchholz's worst nightmare materialized Sunday in the form of a question we posed about the discrepancy in the men's and women's first-place checks, he quickly passed the buck, so to speak.
"I think Adam can address this," Buchholz said, handing over the microphone to Adam Barett, the first-year tournament director.
"I'm not ducking it," Buchholz was quick to add. "We're on the course. That's an agreement we've made with the WTA three or four years ago. It's either next year or the following year, we will have equal prize money."
Barrett went on to explain there are a lot of fingers dipping into the women's purse. Television rights, sponsorship rights and international rights and the like all affect the prize distribution.
Adam Barrett the disparity has to do with how the prize money is accounted and distributed. He has been in discussions with the WTA about meeting the equal pay goals.
''Even if we had, right now, paid the same amount in total to the ATP and WTA, because the WTA has a bonus pool and because they have increased fees over the men, the winner's prize money check would still not be the same,'' he said. ``The distribution percentages are not set by the tournament, they're set by the tours.''
Barrett said the first step is to pay the players in the first four rounds the same amounts.
''We're aggressively working on it,'' he said.
Whatever. We're holding Buchholz to his word. And so, we're sure, will Burk.
Scott on course for equal pay in Grand Slam Events and strengthen Women's Tennis
Larry Scott, the new chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), pledged to bring greater stability to the game.
“I am very excited about accepting the position of Chairman and CEO of the WTA Tour and I am enthusiastic about the prospect of leading and growing a global organization whose members represent the best of professional tennis and the highest level of achievement by women in the sports world,’’ Scott said. “I am eager to work toward maximizing the unique power of the WTA Tour product – the players and the tournaments – and bridging the divide between tennis’ governing bodies in a way that will be in the best interests of all members of the tennis family and the sport as a whole.’’
"There is a strong desire for greater leadership and unity in women's tennis and there is a lot of fragmentation in the sport," said Scott, who was formerly the number two at the men's body, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).
"I'm very encouraged by the recent dialogue that started between the Grand Slams, the International Tennis Federation, the WTA and the ATP," Scott said. "I think my history and track record can only be beneficial in terms of all the governing bodies working more closely together."
"We need to build bridges right away with the players and the tournaments. The sport can only benefit if we all work in harmony," said Scott, who spent 11 years with the ATP in Sydney, Monte Carlo and London.
One of Scott's first tasks will be to liaise with the head of the men's tour, Mark Miles, in pressing for more money from the four grand slam tournaments for welfare initiatives for players.
"Equal prize-money is obviously one of the most important issue to the players," Scott said.
Scott, who has a 5-year agreement with the WTA Tour, replaces Kevin Wulff, who leaves the WTA Tour after nearly 1 1/2 years as CEO to pursue a career with Adidas. Scott will oversee the WTA Tour from his London-based office until he relocates with his family to the WTA Tour’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla., in mid-April.
“The women’s game is positioned for tremendous growth and Larry has the drive, the management style and all of the skill sets to guide the WTA Tour to exceptional heights,’’ Wulff said. “I’m confident that hiring Larry is something the WTA Tour will look back on with tremendous satisfaction.’’
Martina Navratilova, who won the Wimbledon singles title nine times and continues to play doubles on the Tour at the age of 46, intends to have a voice in the WTA's new regime. "We need to change the structure, the players need to have more say, and we need room to evolve," Navratilova said during the Nasdaq-100 Open here last week.
"The players feel under-represented," she added. "There needs to be a lot more give and take. The ITF come to us and say, 'It's a done deal'. Nobody negotiates. There's a whole bunch of promoters and sponsors, there's all kinds of places we can play tournaments, but there's only 10 players that are in the top 10. There's only one Serena Williams. You can't substitute for her. Right now, the players need somehow to regain more of the power they had."
Mark Miles, who has been given an extended contract as the ATP's chief executive, will be on the opposite side of the negotiating table from Scott, his former right-hand man. "I'm not surprised that the WTA Tour Board has tapped Larry to lead their organisation," Miles said. "He has shown himself to be knowledgeable, hard-working and dedicated."
Scott has a lot of sorting out to do. "Within 100 days you'll have a pretty clear idea of any changes that will be happening with the organization and where it's heading," he said.