French player Gillies Simon caused controversy in the world of tennis by claiming that women do not deserve to be paid as much as men because the men’s game is deemed “more attractive”.
He added that it’s about the entertainment as well as stating that men’s tennis is actually more “interesting” than women’s.
I believe that Simon’s claims demonstrate how sexism is still an issue in sport. A man cannot be paid more because he is seen as a greater interest. If that is a reason behind any pay, then it is wrong.
Wimbledon has awarded equal prize money since 2007: Singles winners win £1.15 million; Doubles winners get £260,000 for the pair; and mixed doubles earn £92,000 for the pair.
Giving the same amount of prize money is the correct thing to do in my opinion: female tennis players train and work equally as hard as male players do.
However, I can understand why some people are arguing men should receive greater pay because of their task to compete to the best of five sets, whereas a women has to play best to three.
But surely we’re all about equality here? We are in the 21st century, not the 20th. Being a women should not be a reason as to why pay should be less. That is unfair and sexist.
Yes, I understand why many depict men’s tennis as more interesting: the ‘Top Four’ create headlines worldwide because of their rivalry and always seem to cause the biggest shocks and upsets within the sport.
But women’s tennis is as interesting. I agree, there is not a rivalry between female players similar with the likes of Nadal and Murray. But why should Simon use that as the reason as to why women shouldn’t receive equal pay.
Female players have fought long and hard to get equal prize money, so why are many people claiming the opposite to what they campaigned for?
My message to the critics is this: Stop making gender the issue. Tennis players, both male and female, work hard and put equal time and effort into their training. It is not about the entertainment as Gilles Simon believes. It is about the players’ ability to perform as athletes and achieve sporting goals for themselves and their countries.