ATP Player Council’s Stakhovsky, Simon Ready to Take Down WTA Women’s Tennis
by Staff | August 23rd, 2012, 10:49 am

Frenchman Gilles Simon, as a new member of the ATP Player Council, made some waves at Wimbledon earlier this year when he flat-out said women shouldn’t be paid the same as men in pro tennis. Now fellow new Council member Sergiy Stakhovsky is chiming in, and it looks like a sub-group is forming in the inner-workings of men’s tennis to take the women down a notch.
Stakhovsky told the media this week at the ATP event in Winston-Salem, “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.”

He went on to elaborate, “When it comes to equality, it’s not equality, it’s business. Pure revenue and business, it’s nothing personal…I mean, why are male models underpaid compared to women?…So, [in tennis] are we supposed to pay women more just for looks?”

“Joint events are in the past. We will split all the events we can. The ATP is done with [joint] events on the tour with the WTA, so it will be only Grand Slams and that’s it.”

For the full story click here.


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58 Comments for ATP Player Council’s Stakhovsky, Simon Ready to Take Down WTA Women’s Tennis

RZ Says:

I can’t imagine that the ATP is suddenly going to split off from Miami and Indian Wells.

Deborah Says:

Does Stakhovsky really think the likes of him and Simon are the reason for the success of the ATP? Let the tour become full of finals between the two of them and see how long it lasts. The only thing he has done is be born the same gender as the top guys. How does give him the right to decide what the WTA brings to the table?

roy Says:

love these guys. bring it on.
this doesn’t have to be a debate though.
somebody simply needs to compile financial data from grandslams comparing male and female match revenue in tickets/tv advertisement etc.
the result of course would make a mockery out of the prize money split.

also, great point about men putting in the extra work at player councils to press for more rights/money while women do nothing and get the benefits.
to be fair the girls are busy stripping off for sleazy photoshoots to desperately try and sell their tour. who’s got the time.

trufan Says:

Equal pay for equal work – I am all for that, and that’s the ONLY right thing.

Make women’s tennis best of 5 in slams, and I think they would deserve equal payment. Though that would be terrible, since women’s tennis is so boring!

Payments should be calibrated to what they bring in in terms of ad revenue. That’s how at least the free market system works.

RZ Says:

Roy, I don’t think that data exists for the grand slams or joint events. Tickets are sold for sessions, not men’s matches vs. women’s matches.

MMT Says:

There is one aspect of what Stakhovsky said that is absolutely true – it is a business, and the sooner he learns that the better, because the ATP may have the upper hand, but that hasn’t always been the case, and won’t always be.

I think if the men want to dispute equal prize money at the majors, where they play best of 5 and the women play best of 3, that’s a different story. I actually think it would help the women’s game, both technically and in terms of stature if they would take on the best of 5 set format at the majors, because the truth is the majors are physically EASIER than the regular tour events for the women because they have one more week to play two more matches.

But to dispute equal prize money at regular tour events is a big mistake, and to split the current joint events will only cost everyone more, because money from advertisers are only increased by the presence of the most prominent women – if they split those events, the advertisers will also be forced to split their advertising spending (or worse choose) and everyone will have less money in the pocket as a result.

I don’t know where this is heading, or what the end game of the men is, but it’s going to be fascinating seeing how this plays out.

RZ Says:

To add to my statement above, actually that’s only true for the first week of the grand slams (my bad!)

Polo Says:

Separate the men’s from the women’s events. I love that. Then I would not get bored waiting for the women to get done playing in mixed events so that men can play. If the the women are really worth equal pay, then they should generate their own income and prove it. As regards the advertisers, how many of the women can generate interest from advertisers? Only Sharapova.

Rahul Says:

I think the way they are handling is really going to work against them. If its an issue of revenue generation, tabulate the figures, present it in a proper forum to the decision makers and be done with it. Right now they are coming across as disgruntled workers which doesnt help their case.

The more its in a media, the wrong wording will invariably lead to an equality of the sexes debate which doesnt seem to be the issue at all.

trufan Says:

I think its easy to do. There are several events that are mens only, and several that are womens only. Look at ad revenues for both.

In addition, look for viewership data on the semi and finals at slams for mens and womens.

The reason they will never share this data is that is will show something that is politically incorrect – that fewer people watch women’s tennis. Some people may watch players like Sharapova and Ivanovic, but they are not watching them for the game.

Gone are the days when I watched someone like Steffi graf because she was just so good – it was a treat to see her hit that wicked forehand. These days its just flat two handed shots and grunts, hardly any vareity.

trufan Says:

I agree with rahul. No point bringing it up without hard data.

Polo Says:

Best of 5 for women’s tennis? Horrors!

Polo Says:

Women’s tennis is a joke.

Polo Says:

A bad joke.

jane Says:

I think MMT’s idea about the women playing best of 5 at the slams is an interesting one. Even if they did something like at the Olympics where at least the final was best of 5. It could make for more exciting finals, potentially.

Wanda Says:

I think women’s tennis should be best of 5 in majors. WOMEN FOUGHT FOT EQUALITY so make it equal for majors…probably see that high ranked players will change when they have to play the best of 5. I love tennis greatly..but appreciate men’s majors for the cruelling best of 5! Women’s would change for dire..bring on 5 for all or change $$….

Kimberly Says:

sumbission window for the brackets will open at 3. I will post the link when it is open.

andres Says:

Name epic matches between men in recent years:

Nadal -Federer , Wim 07,08,AO 10, Rome 06, etc
Federer – Djokovik, US 10,11, FO 11
Djokovik – Nadal, any match they play on 2011, AO 12
Delpo – Fed , Us 09

among many others

Name epic matches between women in recent years:


Kimberly Says:

Epic matches between women
Serena Stosur French Open 2010
Schiavone Kuznetsova Australian Open
Maybe not Epic but both AO semis were great

To get real epics I acknowledge you have to go back a few years
Venus/Henin 2007 USO, very high level
Venus/Davenport 2005 one of the best womens matches, ever at Wimbledon, longest final played at a very high level
Serena Capriati had several epics.

Currently there have not been epics but maybe some great Serena/Kvitova matches coming? I think womens tennis is moving to a decent place. I hope Serena keeps playing and Venus can get better. THey add to the game.

El Mago Says:

why should the women be paid equal? do they get paid equal in basketball or any other sport? you get paid by the quality of your tennis.

at the end of every grand slam. the men’s winner should play the women’s winner and the combined money pool should be split in the ratio of the games won by each. sounds fair?

or just separate the two tours and atp will handle it’s revenue and WTA tour, theirs. if the WTA gets enough sponsors, good for them.

there is no doubt who works harder for each penny.

Wog boy Says:

I am pretty sure that last year or maybe this year Federer pointed out that it is becaming increasingly uncomfortable to share facilites with women on tour and that they should separate ATP and WTA tournaments.

Alok Says:

If the match serena played with Razzanno at the FO was a 5 setter, I’d bet my last dollar Serena would have won. she won the first set and was a couple of points to win the match, and then she imploded. In a 5 setter, she would have been able to regroup, when in a 3 setter, she had no time to bring in Plan B. Razzano was very tired in the third set, but hung on becaus she knew the end was near. For two more sets, she would have gone away.

I agree the women should play 5 sets in the GS.

The Masters for the men should return to the 5 set format in the finals. It is now just a souped up 250 tournament.

Brando Says:

Women SHOULD NOT get equal pay in slams IMHO.

The pay should be determined strictly, as in most areas in society, by the VALUE OF THE LABOUR.

They should determine what the value of playing, say a set is, and x3 for women and by x5 for men!

It’s a simple way of working out what the pay should be based on the value of the labour!

EVERYONE ACCEPTS that GS pay should be highers than MS pay since best of 5 > over best of 3.

So why should it be ANY DIFFERENT when women play best of 3?

IMHO, the sole- and obvious purpose of this- is to show that women’s tennis are on a equal field with men’s tennis, when the reality is THAT THEY ARE NOT!

Nothing to do with gender, BUT the simple fact that men’s tennis is FAR tougher game than women’s tennis- and most women readily accept this.

As with the women that i have discussed this issue- and agreed with- the same pay doesn’t glow with equality, but a mockery of how there is a GREAT DIFFERENCE between the labour they have to go through in order to EARN that pay.

xmike Says:

in the 80s and 90s, with graf, navratilova, sanchez vicario and co i really liked watching the girls play, even more than the men, who basically served bombs at each other and that was it; now it’s the opposite, after hingis, mauresmo ans henin left i couldn’t care less about that bunch of screamers and chockers but can hardly wait for next big atp tournament to start

so i agree, they should stop the mixed events, i hate having to wait for two screamers to clear the court so the next atp match can start, also being in europe and having relyed on europsports tv coverage for so many years, which does 90% of wta matches vs only 10% atp matches is (was) a real pain; thankfully now there is sportlemon and other live stream sites

apart from grand slams, i stopped watching tennis completly in the early noughties when eurosport lost their contract with the atp (i wonder why, probably cheaper to buy the wta tv rights…) and only restarted watching again regularly in 2007 when internet live streams became commonly available, to this day i regret having missed watching federer live during the 2004-2006 seasons /(%/(&&/(%

likewise, in the 80s and 90s, equal pay seemed only fair, as the girls were as(if not more) entertaining as the boys, now, considering how dull most wta matches are it seems ridiculous, but that can change back again in half a decade (after the big 4 retire, will we all still be watching so much atp tennis? i know i won’t), maybe the pay should vary from year to year depending on the audiences, both live, tv and web, the technology probably exists to determine who’s watching what

anyway, just my 2 cents, sorry for the long post

Colin Says:

Those who say there is no longer any interest in women’s tennis obviously never watch Sciavone. Her age and physical size limit her achievements, but she plays the stuff I used to enjoy – all-court play with some actual thought going on.
Oh, and the greatest of the past players wasn’t Graf, it was Navratilova.

Wog boy Says:

These two are just testing ground for the bigger name to come out to back them up when it is safe to do so.

Addicted Says:

What junk. If it is “equal pay for equal work”, men who win the US Open in 5 sets should be paid more than those who win it straight up.

The reality is the vast majority of work is done off the court, during practice etc. Making an argument based on the number of sets is completely nonsensical. This is a sport, not hourly labor.

If you want to make an argument based on how much money each side draws, then I will have more patience for that. But in that case make sure you pay the winners based on how well the tournament did that year. So a Federer Nadal final in the USO should pay far more to the winner than a Federer DelPo final. And of course, players like Simon and Stakhovsky should probably PAY to play in the USO because they probably give out more tickets to friends and family than they sell to fans.

Addicted Says:

These fools are coasting off the success and hard work of the Top 4. Apparently they believe that coasting off the success of others (not true, because the WTA does make money, but for the sake of argument I will give them that) is only okay if you have a penis.

Addicted Says:

Also, finally, if we are doing everything based on labor, as a fan, I should get money back when I only get 3 sets instead of 5. Because I obviously did not get as much “labor” as I paid for.

Seriously, is there any other sport in the world where people argue about payments based on the time on the court/field/pitch?

Brando Says:

‘is only okay if you have a penis.’


I knew a rant such as this was likely as soon as i posted it!

Jeez, you should have taken a cigarette break or something after reading that post as genitalia- to my knowledge- usually doesn’t get discussed on a tennis forum. It seems somewhat out of place.

As for the prize money point- the point stands. The labour element is quite obviously universal in its usage here. So of course that would take into account the tv audience, number of fans attending, interest they create for the game etc. All relevant considerations.

Sure tennis is a sport, but ultimately the business side of things is run like the entertainnment industry- and just like say the film industry it is star based in the main.

For example, say the ATP tour is a product similar to one such as a film. It’s marketing- in order to bring attention to the product- is done through its stars.

Fans usually go to watch a said player. You look at the money ANY MAJOR TENNIS TOURNY makes and you’ll quickly realise the more star players on show (fed, rafa, nole etc) the greater their income.

Hence, tournies PAY BIG APPEARANCE fees to players- so that their attendance shall hopefully lead to an increase in their revenue.

Now, who do you think creates greater interest, business, attention at the AO, FO, wimby, USO- the ATP and their players or the WTA?

Which game is, generally speaking, demanding more of the player- the one that is best of 3 or best 5?

So WHY should their be equal remuneration to players, when their is an OBVIOUS difference between the 2 in their value to the game, and by extension, their work?

Wog boy Says:

Is there any other sport where women are paid the same or even more than men? What about golf, I don’t follow it. Somebody said it is not a sport?

harry Says:

“Payments should be calibrated to what they bring in in terms of ad revenue. That’s how at least the free market system works.”

I am guessing that Serena, Shazza and Azza bring more viewership etc (fill in all the free market stuff here for “etc”) than Stakhovsky and Simon, and they are paid more. It is free market after all :) But jokes aside, lets take a thought experiment: what if the top 4 (now 3 due to Rafa’s withdrawal) in the men’s side are upset during US open and viewership plummets because their fans dont watch it? Do we reduce then reduce the pay for the winner? Of course one can construct more examples… what if fed is upset by muzza, who arguably has a smaller fan base (i am not sure that it is — but i am guessing from the supporters on this site)?

“The pay should be determined strictly, as in most areas in society, by the VALUE OF THE LABOUR. They should determine what the value of playing, say a set is, and x3 for women and by x5 for men!”

Your first sentence is very fair, but your second does not necessarily follow from that: do you think the value of labor is determined only by the amount of time you work or how hard you worked? One can come up with a number of examples in life where it is not followed and sometimes justifiably so; i am not saying all of that is justifiable. But sticking to tennis, for the sets that they worked, Isner and Mahut should have been paid the most during the Wimby 2010 than Rafa was — who won ;) All i am just saying is that “value of labor” is more than the number of sets played or the amount of time one works at the “office” (whatever may be one’s office may be — a tennis court or one behind 4 walls)…

In saying all the above, i admit that the tennis played by the top 4 men is such a pleasure, and there is nothing remotely comparable in women’s tennis now. But to me, it is just this era. Women’s tennis in the late 90s was arguably more interesting than the men’s at that time (i have no statistics to show though, and hence the “arguably”).

Addicted Says:

I am sorry. Whatmis your argument? That women play less sets? If so, then pay grand slam winners by how many sets they play.

If not that, then what? That the women’s tour draws less money than the men’s tour? Then pay the men by how many fans they draw. I will be thrilled by that, coz my man Rogwr draws more fans than pretty much any player on the tour.

What Giles wants is to base winnings on how much each individual draws, as
ING as crappy players like him get more earnings because they are men.

Colin Says:

“FEWER” sets!

Kathy Says:

I have never understood what the big deal is about women getting a slam. Apart from the fact that they have to play seven matches and it takes place over two weeks, it’s no different than any other tournament that they play.

alison Says:

Kathy yeah completely agree,and although i have never cared for the whole GOAT discussion,you would have to put Roger as the greatest player male or female ever if you went on that basis,male players have to win 21 sets to win a GS,but with the womens its only 14,im not particulaly good at maths but if you work out how many sets of tennis Roger won to get his 17 GS,ITS probably a hell of a lot more than Serena has,deffinetly much harder for men to win a GS than women IMO.

Sienna Says:

This is stupid.Andyouguys and gals are looking at tennis like it is somekind of mathematical problem.
And I might add you are totally looking from a wrong perspective.

Everyone agrees that Top players have more chance of winning a match when i goes over more sets. We all agree that upsets are far more and easier to get in a best of 3.

So with that in mind you have to ask yourself if it is realy that harder for Federer to win his slams as it is for Serena. If you take that fact then you must agree that Roger winning those 5 set matches tourney is easier for him because he is an elite player then it is for Serena to win slams in a three set format where upsets are fairly easier to get.

alison Says:

Steffi Graff won 22 GS, in best of 3 sets,Roger Federer won 17 in best of 5 sets,if all her matches went to 3 sets,and all his went to 5 sets,even though Steffi has won more GS than Roger,Steffi would still have played 19 sets of tennis less than Roger, even though Steffi has won 5 more GS than Roger hmm,id be interested to know what Dave thinks?

alison Says:

Sienna it was just my opinion thats all,and you are quite entitled to yours,i didnt say it was right or wrong,but just a theory,yes Roger is an elite player,but what i was saying was complementary if you cared to read between the lines.

Polo Says:

Personally, I would not mind if they get rid women’s tennis. Why do they have to mix men’s and women’s tennis anyway? They look completely different.

Reyals Says:

Federer’s 17 slams are worth more than Graf’s 22 slams. BO5 is another animal.

Reyals Says:

Nadal’s 11 slams are worth more than Serena’s 14 slams. BO5 is another animal.

Reyals Says:

Djokovic’s 5 slams are worth more than Henin’s 7 slams. BO5 is another animal.

alison Says:

Reyals yes,yes and yes,my point exactly.

Sienna Says:

Alison you donot understand.

When it is harder to win best 5 matches then it is more likely that elite players will win. not just fed also nadals, djok.
With best of 3 chances for upsets are bigger. well not maybe with the elite we have atm in tennis.

It is not a dig or a fedal battle but just toshow you different angle perspective .
You dont understand so no big deal.

Sienna Says:

In other words it is easier for Fed djoker nadal to win a
slam then to win masters against the field.

Sienna Says:

There are not so many sports where women are on a somewhat similar level as the men.
That groundwork for that is layed in 70,s
we have had lovely and thrilling rivalries.there has been several era or periodo where tennis benefitted more from the girls then for the men.

That the current lack of elite players is obvious . but I feel that will come.

Whenever #1 and #2 in men tennis will stop in prime and 2 other elite men are not fully commited then menstennis will be in the pits.

So when the two belgiumgirls stopped and with the sisters not fully commited then this will happen.

Equal pay is great for tennis and they haveearned that right the hard way .
Ask martina and monica.

alison Says:

Sienna i do understand thankyou,it was just my opinion that i think it would be harder for men to win a slam than women given the best of 5,rather than best of 3,like Kathy said its best of 3 in every tourney for woman,things are no different in slams to any other tourney for woman,ok the elite male players have more chance,over 5 sets than a lesser player sure,but that was not the issue,the point was best of 5 is much tougher than best of 3,the masters are another issue altogether,i was only making a point about the slams.

Sienna Says:

Of course not.
If the outcome in the eventual winner is greater in a 5set match for the top guys then they donothave to work harder then the women. For the women elite it would be more difficult and therefor should be rewarded as such .

Ijust showed how silly the comparisson is.

The elite women if they would emerge would be wanting a 5set match because they would have a greater chance in winning.

Sienna Says:

My english isnot that bad. that you fail to understand what i say.

Why is it harder for men to win slams when platini best of 5 the better player usually wins.

There can be no other way about it.

Sienna Says:

To even elaborate a bit so you can understand.

The fact they have to play 5set matches is benefitting the top players so they donot mind that they have to play more sets. Why would we even begin to reward something that makes it easier for them ?

Tvrating and audience attendence is better norm but wo is watching simon play first round ?
I rather would be at serena’s match

i justhope you understand that it is not that easy and you can get adifferentview on the situation.I believe it would not be fair to reward men more based on 5set argument since irt is clear that is top players benefit from 5set matches .

Sienna Says:

You can claim that for simon it is much more difficult to win over elitr player but his reward in winning would bre the normal gaine in going further in tourney .

Perspective folks and keep it real that is all we cando.

Dave Says:

Five of the top 10 richest tennis players are women. Forbes’ list of world’s highest paid tennis players between July 2011 and July 2012: 1. Federer ($54.3 million); 2. Nadal ($ 32.4 million); 3. Sharapova ($27.1 million); 4. Novak Djokovic ($19.8 million); 5. Li Na ($18.4 million); 6. Serena ($16.3 million); 7. Wozniacki ($13.7 million); 8. Murray ($12 million); 9. Azarenka ($9.7 million); 10. Roddick ($8.8 million).–ten.html

The 10sballs site claimed: “ATP Might Boycott 2013 Australian Open For More Prize Money… A mandatory meeting for all ATP World Tour players will take place in New York tomorrow (Saturday) evening and there is growing pressure to stage a mass boycott of the Australian Open; by virtue of both finance and geography the least strong of the four majors. Rumors currently abound that the ATP is contemplating staging a large alternative event, almost certainly in Dubai , if moves are not made to give the players a larger percentage of tournament revenue that currently stands below 20%” [If this gets really messy, Federer is not going to win the US Open because he’ll be distracted and wasting his mental energy on this. Ugh.]

Stakhovsky needs to shut up — he’s not the ATP Player Council official spokesman to be blabbering stuff like “Joint events are in the past. We will split all the events we can. The ATP is done with [joint] events on the tour with the WTA, so it will be only Grand Slams and that’s it.” Stating such things can end up backfiring on the work being done by the Player Council because — like Simon’s comments about women’s pay — it can easily become a public relations disaster once the press decides to support the women’s position. The smarter approach is for the men to choose their battles wisely and make statements as a group (through the player council) not as individuals. As well, I’m not interested in giving mediocre players like Stakhoveky big pay increases — just look at his results (consistently losing in the early rounds). He seems to me a player who talks a good game but in recent years really hasn’t put in the efforst to get better results. Not impressed with his dubious retirements when he’s close to losing.

That said, Stakhovsky said several things similar to what I had already said several months ago when we discussed his original comments in March/April, e.g.: this is a business issue not a gender issue; men’s tennis brings in more revenue for grand slams compared to women’s tennis; due to the pay equality principle, women got automatic prize money increases based on prize money increases given to the men at grand slam and masters events – despite all the hard work put in by the men to agitate and negotiate for the increases; having joint events puts limits on pay increases for men (since corresponding increases have to be given to women as well) and is inconsistent with what happens in other major sports; in order for men to get what they want and deserve, the men have to decouple from joint events; etc.

Dave Says:

alison: Yeah, I agree that 17 slams in a best-of-five format is worth more than Steffi’s best-of-three, especially given the depth of men’s tennis. Five sets did not save the experienced Nadal from Rosol. If there was no depth in men’s tennis then either format is fine. If women and men played the same tournament with the same format, that would be ideal.

In any case, in his prime Federer won the vast majority of best-of-three set tournaments he played, so if the slams were in that format the would probably win those events as well. In 2005-2006, I think Federer won 18 titles from 21 finals out of 23 best-of-three set tournaments he played. He failed to reach the finals in only two such events in two years.

Graf faced a (mostly) good bunch of top five players during peak years 1987 to 1996 (Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Hana Mandlíkova, Pam Shriver, Mary Pierce, Jana Novotna, Zina Garrison, Conchita Martinez… remember I said “mostly”). The rest of the field was relatively weak, however, so it was unlikely that Steffi would be knocked out before the semifinals even in a best-of-three set format. Navratilova and Margaret Court had a similar advantage with lack of depth in their era’s, though each had rivals such as Evert, Graf and Mandikova for Martina… and Billie Jean King, Maria Bueno and Evonne Goolagong for Margaret Court.

I liked watching Steffi and Monica Seles — more than Navratilova and Evert — even bought tickets to see them play.

Steffi Graf vs Gabriela Sabatini 1991 Wimbledon final

El Mago Says:

If they really want equality the women should play the same tour as men. Just have one tennis tour. We will see how many women will be even in the top 20.

You cannot play in your own secluded tour so that you dont have to play REAL tennis and still demand equal money.

How many slams would have graf if she had to compete with sampras, agassi, courier, becker, edberg and lendl for those titles? I am guessing if tennis had just one tour we would still be waiting for the 1st women GS winner. maybe even a women finalist, semi-finalist or even a quarter-finalist!

That is real equality. I am sure simon and stakhovsky would love to play even top 10 women in 1st round so that they can make some easy dough!

Stella Says:

This Stakhovsky is nothing but a mouth piece. He was all excited last year about a strike at the FO. Trouble with a captial “T”. For him it all boils down to this…“I was ranked 31 in the world, I have four titles, but at the end of the day what do I have? I don’t have much. I have one flat in Bratislava, some money in my account, that’s it. I don’t drive a Ferrari like everyone thinks. That’s not the real thing.”

If you notice it’s all about HIM!!!

Notice it’s all about HIM!!!!

alison Says:

Thanks Dave it was great to here your take on the subject,nice someone out there gets where im coming from,thanks for the info on Rafa on the other thread too.

JJ Says:

I think that men shouldn’t play 5 sets anymore. Who wants to watch the men tank a set once they get broken. The should be the best of 3 then the urgency is there and they have to be on from the get go.

There are so many reasons why I don’t enjoy men’s tennis aside from say 6 players. It is usually boring and I don’t even start watching until the 3rd set anyway. It was so much more exciting with the Olympics and the best out of 3.

Equal pay for all.

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