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tennisIlove09
Apr 27th, 2004, 04:35 PM
Wimbledon Gives Players Pay Raise, Men Still Earn More Than Women
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Photo By Fred Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
04/27/2004

The grass isn't greener for men at Wimbledon, but the cash is certainly greater. Players are receiving a 4.8 percent pay raise at the grass-court Grand Slam, but the All England Club announced it will continue its prize money policy that pays men more than women.
The 2004 men's Wimbledon winner will receive £602,500 (about $1,077,270), while the women's winner will collect a champion's check of £560,500 ($1,002,174). The increase means both the men's and women's Wimbledon champions will earn more than a million dollars reach — if the exchange rate remains near its present state of $1.788 dollars to the British pound.

"Both singles champions will earn over $1 million with today's exchange rate," All England Club Chairman Tim Phillips said. "Because the pound is 15.7 percent stronger to date than it was 12 months ago, they will get those benefits."

Men continue to benefit from the grass-court Grand Slam's prize money inequity. The gap between the men's and women's champion's check has grown slightly to £42,000 (75,083.) this year compared to a £40,000 ($71,507) difference last year.

In what has become an annual All England Club tradition, Phillips defended the disparity in prize money, stating the Club's desire to be "fair" to both men and women.

"We are trying to be fair to the men and women," Phillips said. "The women's prize pot is more than £4 million and the ladies' champion at the current exchange rate gets more than a million dollars."

The U.S. Open and the Australian Open both pay men and women equally. Roland Garros and Wimbledon award more prize money to men than women.

All England Club officials have justified their pay policy pointing to the fact that men play longer matches than women and that their annual surveys show more spectators who attend Wimbledon are interested in the men's game than the women's.

When pressed on the pay disparity in the past, Phillips has said the U.S. Open and Australian Open are "out of line" for providing equal pay to men and women.

"I think the U.S. and Australian Opens are out of line, not us," Phillips said in a 2002 interview. "There are not many other tournaments that pay equal prize money, in fact not many other sporting events pay equally. We think we are being fair. I don't see it changing in the foreseeable future."

Wimbledon is scheduled for June 21st-July 4th. Roger Federer is defending men's champion. Serena Williams defeated older sister Venus Williams in the 2003 women's final to stretching the sisters' Wimbledon winning streak to four years: Venus took home the title in 2000 and 2001, and Serena has claimed the championship for the past two years.