(October 17, 2012) NEW YORK, NY – Back in June when Gilles Simon said that women did not deserve equal prize money, saying that “men’s tennis is really ahead of women’s tennis,” and that women only played best-of-three sets at major tournaments as opposed to the men who play best-of-five.
Since then there have been both friends and foes of his opinions.
ATP Council member Sergiy Stakhovsky agrees with Simon. At the ATP World tour event in Winston Salem in August he said, “I still think that we should not be equal because of the amount of work we do, the amount of time we spend on court, it’s just different. You cannot compare it. And I think you cannot even compare the revenue that the men’s sports bring into the Grand Slams compared to the women’s.”
Just last week Stakhovsky tweeted: “Wow just got the info that WTA recommended their players to not support ATP and their demands on GS.”
The WTA has denied this.
Simon and Stakhovsky would have have few supporters of their views among current and former players the WTA tour attending the Women Sports Foundation’s annual awards Gala on Wednesday evening. The organization founded in 1974 by 12-time major winner, Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation supports the advancement of girls and women through sports and physical activity.
The Australian Open recently announced a four million dollar increase in prize money which may have caused players on the ATP World Tour to avert a boycott of the tournament.
Former player and current Tennis Channel analyst Mary Carillo addressed the issue on the debate in regard to equal prize money exclusively to Tennis Panorama News on the red carpet of the Women’s Sports Foundation Gala:
“The men and the women should be working together. They should be growing the sport together.
“There are a number of events beyond the four majors that are mixed events now and they are very successful.
“People like going to a tournament and being able to see Roger Federer and Serena (Williams). Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Marai and Serena andnd Venus have just as much star power as the guys.
“The point that has been made in the past is that the men play a three out of five set event in matches at majors, that they work harder and all that.
“I’m not a big fan of three out of five set tennis anymore because the game has gotten so physical.
“Tennis because of the equipment, the string technology, these guys can play incredibly tough matches and the women’s game has gotten more physical as well.
“That’s where you throw that equal prize money thing away. A three-hour match is plenty for me. A two hour match is ideal.
It’s entertainment value, it’s star power and that’s what counts. Barbra Streisand performed in Brooklyn the other night – that thing got sold out in 14 seconds.
I wish (the ATP and WTA Tours) would work together more, in the grand slams, the majors they want a bigger percent of the pie. They should be going after that together because at the majors, people come to watch the men and the women.”
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News