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http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SPORT/02/13/equal.pay.tennis/index.html



CNN

REVEALED

February 13, 2009 -- Updated 1122 GMT (1922 HKT)


Are top female tennis players overpaid?

By Hilary Whiteman
CNN

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The polite hush that descends on the crowd seconds before service is nowhere to be heard when it comes to the issue of equal prize money in women's tennis.

It may be two years since Wimbledon and the French Open joined the other major tournaments in offering women the same cash prize as men, but for some tennis fans the issue is far from resolved.

"Admit it sisters," screamed one recent headline on Australian Web site AdelaideNow, "this is not equal."

The author went on: "Political correctness, sexual equality and feminism all prevent many commentators from stating the bleeding obvious ... no sports watcher in their right minds could honestly say female tennis players, or golfers for that matter, deserve as much money as their male counterparts."

The writer -- a woman -- went on to lambaste the world's best female tennis players, describing world number one Serena Williams' defeat of Dinara Safina in the Australian Open final as "embarrassing, pitiful and pathetic."

"Her humiliation of Dinara Safina was a terrible advertisement for a sport that has apparently disappeared up its own backside."

Rather than provoking a tirade of abuse, many readers agreed with the author, outspoken Australian journalist and sports commentator, Rebecca Wilson.

"Right on the money. Women's tennis is boring. Typical game. "Ugh. Grunt. Ugh. Grunt. Ugh. Grunt. Out. Love-Fifteen," one said.

Another added: "It's about time someone said what everyone was thinking." More chimed in: "Everyone agrees, few will say it" and "totally agree. Women's tennis is pathetic."

A couple of dissenters in the crowd urged Wilson to turn her attentions elsewhere: "The usual tripe that Wilson dishes up week after week," and "please go away and let someone with something important to say use your space."

Billie Jean King has heard it all before. The former world number one has spent a good part of the last forty years campaigning for equal prize money, and equal status, for women.

The decision by the All England Tennis and Croquet Club in February 2007, and then the French Open one day later, to award equal prize money to women marked the end of a fight that started in 1968, the first year of Open tennis.

"When Rod Laver won Wimbledon, he got £2,000. And when I won Wimbledon in the same year, 1968, I got £750," she told CNN in an interview filmed for this month's edition of "Revealed."

"I knew then that was going to be one of our next battles that we would have to fight over the years," she added.

King hoped to put the matter to rest in 1973 when she took on self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in now famous match known as "The Battle of the Sexes."

Riggs, a former men's number one, claimed the women's game was so poor that even he, as a 55-year-old retiree from the sport, could beat the top female players.

King accepted the challenge and thrashed Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in front of a television audience of millions.

Those who argue for lower pay for women's tennis say they play fewer sets and attract a smaller television audience so they should receive less money.

Campaigners for equal pay say that it's not an issue of time on the court, but an matter of fair and equal treatment

As current world number six Venus Williams once argued in an open letter published in The Times, "we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage."
 

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The "Ugh. Grunt. Ugh. Grunt. Ugh. Grunt. Out. Love-Fifteen." part is wrong.

It is "Ugh. Grunt. Ugh. Error. Love-Fifteen. in real life. :tape:

They aren't overpaid but the men should earn more money.
The Men AO Final was much more exciting than the Women.
Only Sam L would say it's false and the 6-3 6-0 was a classic match.
 

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Monetary value is based on perceived worth. If women are paid less than men, the perception is that women are less valuable than men, ie second class.
 

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You're worth whatever someone is willing to pay you. Period. Next topic, please.
 

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Venus Williams once argued in an open letter published in The Times, "we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage."
:yeah:
 

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I don't know why it matters to this woman how much women's tennis players are paid. There are much greater injustices in this world than female tennis players having equal prize money to men. Do celebrities deserve 20 million dollars per movie?
 

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Most athletes who play sports which have a major fanbase are overpaid. Footballers are overpaid, NBA players are overpaid, NHL players are overpaid, top tennis players are overpaid etc. Compared to doctors or teachers, sportsmen have almost no responsibility yet they earn so much more. It's a twisted world we live in.
 

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It was implied that not giving equal prize money was sexist. Very explictly, by several notable women invovled with the tour (who shall not be named).
That had been explicitly said for years, most notably by Billie Jean King. What could anyone have possibly said in 2007 that hadn't been said already?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
regarding the poster's comment about all sports athletes earning too much money:

Hockey players, boxers and full contact mixed martial artists are not overpaid.
The National Hockey League went on a full one year strike to resolve the money earning and other salary issues. A 21 year hockey player recently died from a hockey game. He was underpaid.
 

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While it may not be a great injustice, it is certainly an interesting question. Why is it that in tennis unlike in other sports that women demand equality in pay? If it is about pure fairness, why aren't the wheelchair players (disadvantaged physically, not by choice) are not paid as well. The WNBA players accept an even greater disparity, acknowledging that they provide a less popular product but while the disparity in popularity and pay between men and women in tennis is far smaller it still begs the question: has it made the game more or less fair?

I don't have the numbers, but intuitively it seems the men's game has been more popular both recently and historically. A more objective examination is possible on pure economic terms. The WTA, in total, has less prize money than the ATP. I think this demonstrates the ATP has a more profitable product. Why aren't female golf players paid as well then? That sport is also individual. I think the important distinction is that there are no (or possibly just very few) joint tournaments. In all the smaller tournaments, men are paid more than women. Only in Grand Slams is the disparity in pay visible to the casual fan and political correctness comes in. Ultimately, I don't think it is about work as in sets played per se, but the value of the product as Venus Williams says. I just doubt that women's tennis is really as good a product.

I think this is also evident in college sports. Fewer fans come and bring revenue to the women's teams but they receive equal funding according to Title IX. Men's sports are subisidizing women's for the notion of fairness. Having said all this, I'm not necessarily against it. It may not be fair, but like affirmative action it might be necessary for positive image (however, falsely propped up).
 

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We shouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars to watch a boring championship match, or any tennis match that seems fixed.
 

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I think this is also evident in college sports. Fewer fans come and bring revenue to the women's teams but they receive equal funding according to Title IX. Men's sports are subisidizing women's for the notion of fairness. Having said all this, I'm not necessarily against it. It may not be fair, but like affirmative action it might be necessary for positive image (however, falsely propped up).
There are specific instances, though, where women's sports generates as much revenue as their male counterparts, if not more. I don't have access to exact figures, but I'd be willing to bet everything I own that the University of Tennessee pays Pat Summitt more money to coach the women's basketball team than they pay Bruce Pearl to coach the men's team, and if they don't, Pat should burn the place down.
 

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the worth of the slams payout
should be the same
as their ranking points...
 

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omg. the women make equal prize money 4 tournaments out of the entire year and people start shitting their pants. :help: god forbid women should be equal :help:
 

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seriously...
the Women should work harder...
and not get thrash like the way
Dinara was...

a bagel or a breadstick in
not acceptable if your
at the top
echeleons
 
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