Wimbledon OKs Equal Prize Money
by Sean Randall | February 22nd, 2007, 11:20 am
  • 15 Comments

News out of Wimbledon is that for the first time in history the Championships will pay equal prize money to both the men and women this year.

I guess all the backlash from players and negative PR the event received last year finally caught up to the good folks at SW19, who had historically been on the side of the men, last year awarding roughly 5% more in prize money to the men’s champ, Roger Federer, then they gave to ladies winner Amelie Mauresmo.

Here’s what Wimbledon head Tim Phillips had to say on this issue last April: “It just doesn’t seem right to us that the lady players could play in three events and could take away significantly more than the men’s champion who battles away through these best-of-five matches. We don’t see it as an equal rights issue…Obviously, it’s something that could be done and we could respond to the pressure that we come under by doing something that we fundamentally don’t think would be fair on the men. We also would point that the top 10 ladies last year earned more from Wimbledon that the top 10 men did.”

Now, a year later, Phillips has changed his tune: “As in every other year, the Committee has again analysed all the relevant information and then made a judgement. This year, taking into account both the overall progression and the fact that broader social factors are also relevant to the decision, they have decided that the time is right to bring this subject to a logical conclusion and eliminate the difference. We believe this positive step will be widely welcomed.”

After they “analysed all the relevant information” – whatever that means! – the “Committee” decided it simply wasn’t worth all the trouble and the negative pub to maintain the prize money difference, especially with a roof coming over center court and the Olympics not far off, the “Committee” was better off burying this issue once and for all. Makes sense to me, and frankly I’m glad because I won’t have to hear about this issue during Wimbledon this year.

That leaves the French Open as the lone Slam that has yet to offer 100% equal pay, but I’m sure they will be getting on board pretty quickly.

My stance is if the Slams want to do it, so be it. It’s their event. I’m fine with that. Good for the women if they can get it.

Not surprisingly, WTA head Larry Scott along with Venus Williams and Billie Jean King have already come out in support of the decision, but I would be more interested in hearing what the men’s players think. Really really think. Where’s Marcelo Rios when you need him?


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15 Comments for Wimbledon OKs Equal Prize Money

John Says:

If BJ King is for it, then I’m probably against it.

It’s too bad that the committee didn’t also make the women play best 3 out of 5.

I’d like to see a 5 hour 5 setter on the women’s side.


csgq Says:

Kind of ridiculous considering that a decent college player would win the women’s event w/o dropping a set!


luke Says:

wimbledon now officially sucks. a surface which only a handful in the world can practise on, rain delays every match, conservative elitism and now this? they had it right in last year’s statement.

if i was a male player i would be pretty angry that someone doing half the work is getting the same money. Not to mention, women can earn more in endorsements just by wiggling their arse around.


topspin me Says:

“…women can earn more in endorsements just by wiggling their arse around”
haha. that cracked me up!

I agree, wimbledon is the least exciting of the grand slams, especially because of the conservative elitism. they start to play that band with all the trumpets and trombones, and I am like zzzzzz. Not to mention that this is right before U.S. Open, which in contrast attempts to be too hip and fancy.


Clay Says:

Let’s see…

Less time on the court. i.e. fewer sets.
Less energy expended. i.e. fewer sets
Less speed on the court required.

More time to react to opponent’s shot.
More attention to one’s attire.
More endorsements, owing to the fact that “sex sells”. e.g. Kornikova et al.

Now Wimbledon, in order to relieve their irrational pangs of guilt that the WTA has pushed on them, has made the compensation the same. What a crock!!! Grow up people! In the real world things are NOT EQUAL. Don’t force equality where it does not exist or you’ll be saddled with mediocrity.

But, then, as my hero, Dennis Miller, would say… “I could be wrong”.


bahamaboy Says:

I think equal prize money at Wimbledon or any other Grand Slam for that matter is unfair. WTA players are always lobbying for equality but I dont see any of them offering to play 5 sets of tennis. That would make it truly equal. If they want the same money as the men, then they should play the same amount of sets as the men.

Usually, in non Grand Slam events, including the Masters Series Events, men play best of three sets. However they are required to play best of five at Grand Slam events. Women play best of three sets in every tournament they enter, Grand Slam or non Grand Slam! It is unfair that male players are required to play more sets than their female counterparts and yet receive the same amount of money. What would happen if men played best of three? Would they then get less money? Paying women the same amount of money as men while requiring them to pay less tennis is not equality, it is gender bias. So if the same purse is going to be paid out on both sides, then either the men should play best of three or the women should play best of five. That is equality!


luke Says:

I think a lot of people would love to see 5 -set women’s matches, even if it was just for the finals.
it would actually help to seperate the better athletes from girls with the physical advantage.

sure, some women’s matches CAN approach 3hrs, but most are over before anyone has to go the distance physically – some grandslam matches don’t go much over 40mins.

5 setters might help to stop obese people from winning grandslams…


Skorocel Says:

“5 setters might help to stop obese people from winning grandslams…” – that was perfect, luke!:-)


JCF Says:

Wimbledon caves in once again.

What’s next, rip up the grass and go dirt?

They should just drop 5 setters altogether and make men play 3 along with women. That would be more fair.


Tommy Haas Says:

I don’t think it’s really fair. I think the depth of men’s tennis is much tougher than the women’s, plus we play best of five sets.


Denouncer Says:

This is absolutely ridiculous for anyone opposing it.

The man’s body and the woman’s body is already a huge difference. IT will be hard for a woman to go on for 5 sets physically. Secondly, they’re fighting as much as their body possibly can take them.
Equal prize money means equality and this is coming from a guy and whoever is opposed to it should be very ashame of themselves.


Larry Sprietzer Says:

Both my wife and I completely disagree with the decision on equal prize money for men and women, since the ladies play best of three set matches while the men must tough it out in a best of five set match. I would be in agreement with this outcome if the committee would also require the ladies to play best of five set matches or reduce the mens matches to best of three sets.


JCF Says:

“The man’s body and the woman’s body is already a huge difference. IT will be hard for a woman to go on for 5 sets physically. Secondly, they’re fighting as much as their body possibly can take them.”

Is that why top womens players are able to enter Doubles AND Mixed Doubles events in addition to making the finals or semi finals of the singles?

“Equal prize money means equality and this is coming from a guy and whoever is opposed to it should be very ashame of themselves.”

Does your view of equality also allow for men to play 3 set matches instead of 5 set matches? That may allow singles players to take doubles more seriously also.


Jen Says:

Look ladies,
I don’t know what all the fuss is about getting equal pay with the guys. Let’s just face it, in Grand Slams, men have to work harder than ladies do. They have to play 5 setters, women play only 3 setters. That is a HUGE difference, and the men have to train all season to be in shape for up to 2 extra sets of tennis (which can be up to 2+ hours!!). Anyhow, I’m tired of all these feminists demanding equal pay. I beleive that equal pay should only result from equal work.


Agassi Fan Says:

Equal pay for equal work – that’s how it should be. If women want equal prize money, goddamit, play best of 5.

Other sports don’t handicap them? the marathon is no shorter for the women? Then why here?

This is just BS – political correctness gone incorrect.

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