The same old debate of equal prize money for men and women was reignited at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
French star Gilles Simon, who has been elected to the ATP Players Council, said women do not deserve to be paid the same as men players. “It is not fair because the male players spend twice as long time on court as compared to women. The equality in prize money isn’t something that works in sport. Men’s tennis remains more attractive than women at the moment,” he said.
Simon’s remark drew criticism from women players, who said they train as hard as men and their games are also very demanding. Ana Ivanovic, who battled through to the second round on Wednesday, said: “I think we earn our money as well. I was two-and-a-half hours out there today.”
Wimbledon fell into line with other Grand Slams in 2007 by offering equal prize money to men and women champions. This year, both singles champions will pocket more than GBP 1 million.
The disparity used to be based on the fact that men played best-of-five matches in Grand Slams while women played the best-of-three.
AFP adds: Wimbledon golden girl Maria Sharapova delivered a stinging rebuke to Frenchman Gilles Simon for his outspoken criticism of equal prize money by telling him: “You'll never be as popular as me.”. Simon caused an uproar at the All England Club by reigniting the thorny issue of equal cash rewards, claiming that the men’s game is more attractive and that by playing five sets they deserve the greater rewards.
But Sharapova, who is the world’s highest paid sportswoman and completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open this month, told Simon he was wide of the mark.
“No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else, I’m sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so....,” said Sharapova.