Serena Williams: If Djokovic Had A Daughter, Would He Tell Her His Son Deserves More Money Because He’s A Boy?
by Staff | March 22nd, 2016, 10:23 pm

Serena Williams took aim at Novak Djokovic for his comments suggesting that men should earn more prize money than the women Sunday at Indian Wells.

Said Williams today in Miami:

“I have been playing since the age of two and it would be shocking to say my son would deserve more than my daughter. It is irrelevant. Novak is entitled to his opinion but if he has a daughter – I think he has a son right now – he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy.

“It all boils down to that. I would never put a sex against another sex. I think it’s unfair to compare, we have had so many great women champions and players who have brought such great vision to the sport. There have been great men players too, but women’s tennis is the biggest sport for women – period. Men’s tennis is not the biggest sport for them but it’s still huge. You do have soccer, football, basketball. Everyone works really hard. Once again, it all boils down to how you’d explain it to your kids.”

Djokovic has since tried to backtrack.

Both Serena and Djokovic are the top seeds in Miami this week.

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45 Comments for Serena Williams: If Djokovic Had A Daughter, Would He Tell Her His Son Deserves More Money Because He’s A Boy?

Tennisfansince1976 Says:

No he would tell her that she would be compensated proportionally to the amount of revenue her tour brought in.

Vami Says:

Someone should tell Serena to first read what Novak actually said before making stupid comments.

RF Says:

Hey Serena, this is not a clerical job where the government is going to pay your salary from the federal budget; we’re talking about tennis where what you get paid is determined by the profits that come from the quality of the product you sell. Better the quality, more the customers, and hence higher would be the reward.

Any *reasonable* human being would understand this. This has nothing to do with gender. I have a feeling she still (and a lot of people) just don’t get it. Just can’t accept this simple fact.

chrisford1 Says:

Maybe Novak, if he wasn’t a nice guy , would say he hoped if his daughter looked like Sharapova, she would make lots more than most more talented male and female athletes.

jane Says:

b.t.w., here’s what novak posted on Facebook WEEKS before this happened on international women’s day

jane Says:

this is what he posted today… just so people know. he’s not a sexist. he’s a guy who said something that was “on the spot”. he’s not fully backtracking, which is fair enough, but he’s clarifying that he is NOT anti-feminist, as some people have implied he is.

jane Says:

here’s his interview with ellen today

jane Says:

and for levity, here he is “smashing his face” :)

leo Says:

Wow – Agreed @RF, @Vami and @Tennisfan

If WTA really has a beef about prize money, they should demand better pay at the women only tournaments. I do think combined events should pay them equally and the Grand Slams should switch to best of 3 or best of 5 for all.

If Serena really wants to help the WTA, she and the other stars (star?) should show up at the WTA events and compete week in week out. In a career that’s spanned longer, Serena has played about 875 matches, while Roger has played nearly 1300. If she shows up more, she lends credibility to the tournament and increases the bargaining power of the WTA.

Bob Lewis Says:

This is what the free market dictates. Don’t understand why everything has to be equal. Apparently, the women don’t feel like they could ever reach a point where they could make *more* than the men. Have they ever thought of that?

James Says:

Serena’s statement is total nonsense (as always).

If she had a son, would she tell him that he deserves to earn the same even if he works more or generates more money for his company? Where did meritocracy go?

If its about TV revenues and ticket sales, pay whoever generates more – men or women. Forced equality is not equality – that’s called socialism, or even worse, communism.

These type of statements from women actually hurt their cause of “equal pay for equal work” or “equal pay for equal performance”. What they seem to want is just “equal pay”.

Murray is anyway a useless guy.

James Says:

Personally, most of the tennis I have watched in the last decade is to watch Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and some crafty players like Monfils, also Delpo, perhaps Stan, Gasquet, kgryios. Steffi, Navratilova was quite interesting, but in recent years, women’s tennis is rarely interesting to watch.

Whey don’t they release TV viewership data?

scineram Says:

“I would never put a sex against another sex.”

Of course not! Stakhovsky would crush you any day, any surface.

Ben Pronin Says:

I thought Serena responded to Moore’s comments well in Indian Wells. But she completely misunderstood Novak’s comments which really had nothing to do with gender.

MMT Says:

Ben: Serena is framing the issue as a moral question of fairness. This serve’s the women’s purposes because looking at the economics of it would reveal that while both the ATP and WTA benefit from joint events, the deal is much better for the WTA if one compares the television and ticket sales of their independent events to those of the ATP.

There are actually a couple of other moral questions of fairness that remain unaddressed:

1) are the men morally justified in expecting more prize money after having accepted being equal participants in a joint event? (I disagree with Djokovic, and say “no”).
2) does the WTA have a responsibility to contribute equally to the attraction, given they are participating equally in the rewards? (I agree with the implication of Moore’s remarks and say “yes”).

The second question was the central issue that Moore was trying to address. Unfortunately, because the remarks were considered offensive, that question goes unaddressed. They have their pound of flesh and now, if Moore’s contentions are indeed true, they can continue to less to a joint endeavor while benefitting equally.

Ultimately I disagree with the contention that anybody “deserves” anything – men or women. They get what they agreed to get, and if anyone is dissatisfied with the results of that agreement (as apparently many of the men are), they can exit the agreement any time.

They’ll have to take less money to do it, but that would set a precendent for any future joint endeavors with the WTA, namely that they must pull their weight in interest and promotion of the game.

James Says:

Moore’s comments were demeaning and derogatory, no doubt about that. But Serena is just flat wrong in her analogy.

Its all about equality. And equality doesn’t mean you pay the same for lesser performance, whichever way its defined.

Lets tournaments say they don’t link prize money to sponsorships and ticket sales. Then its fine, pay the same. If they say they link prize money to ticket sales and sponsorship, then they are discriminating against players who generate more but get the same. If women generate more, they SHOULD be paid more than men. Trust me, if that was happening, women would be all over it asking for a HIGHER pay.

Don’t get me wrong here. There is still a ton of discrimination against women in many fields – where they DO get paid less for the same work or performance. But not in this elitist high paying sport of tennis. Gimme a break.

These kind of statements by people like Serena just hurt the cause of women where there is genuine discrimination against them.

Ben Pronin Says:

James, and that’s what Djokovic said in his initial comments. They even asked him specifically if women generate more should they get more and he said absolutely. So Serena completely misinterpreted his comments and whether Djokovic has a son or daughter makes no difference.

I really think it’s unfortunate Novak felt the need to apologize. He didn’t say anything offensive or wrong the first time around.

MMT, that’s a good call. They get what they signed up for. And next time contract negotiations roll around, they can argue for more money if that’s what they want.

jane Says:

that’s true ben.
his words have been twisted in many ways, but that’s one of them.

my guess is that these are ideas that many players share, maybe even tournament directors, but novak was feeling congenial after his wn, generally answered the reporters questions, said what he did on the spot, without a PR filter or whatever, and now he’s taking the flack for it.

all that seems pretty straight forward, but it is not being reported as such, and novak is not being given the benefit of the doubt. it’s too bad. i feel like maybe serena is misinformed.

RZ Says:

Wawrinka made a statement yesterday saying that he has a daughter and doesn’t think she deserves less than if he had had a son.

jane Says:

i think it’s unfortunate serena brought novak’s baby into it, too. that’s rather personal. :/

chrisford1 Says:

I wonder if certain events can be split to show what support exists for WTA vs ATP and if coat tailing has been masked by combining events. I believe they can, and believe the WTA would fight it tooth and nail.
1st day, Wimbledon, the ladies take the court. 2nd day, the men play. And so on. Tickets could be bought at going price (equal price to support equal pay?) and then when the Slam is done, see what sales and TV ratings are for the respective two businesses performing on their days.
And people discussing this might want to root themselves in the history. Tennis was not made by the Sainted Billie Jean King and her quest for sexual equality and “female empowerment”.
The history is that men formed a pro league and were blackballed from Slams while women stars played amateur events. The men’s tour set up events, and worked out the start of the Open Era and legitimacy of the pros and amateur men playing together again under the ATP.
After a few years, Billie Jean and a small gang showed up and said they wanted in to the ATP and access to all ATP events created, for female match play. Arthur Ashe, ATP union head said your own firm.
The women amateurs found a wealthy woman whose family owned a tobacco company. They were grandfathered in to the Slams since women had played there….and that was a strength to investors. But they needed more than just traditional access to “national championships” made into Slams ..So the woman’s tour started touting cigarettes and used the marketing created for cigarettes that targeted woman’s lib demos. The feminist market ploy.
“You’ve come a long way, baby, to get where you got to today. You’ve got your own cigarette now baby, you’ve come a long, long way.”
And they kept pressuring for inclusion to event organizers. Using political pressure whenever possible.

Dennis Says:

It’s about the economics – who draws more viewers, sells more tickets, and draws bigger sponsorship and licensing money. It’s simplistic to say “well if I had a girl I’d want her to get the same amount as a boy.” Learn some rudimentary economics please.

Sean Randall Says:

Dennis, correct. It’s economics. End of story.

As an entertainer, you get paid what you are worth. When I got to a concert the opening act doesn’t get the same as the main act, right? And right now, women’s tennis is the opening act.

Today’s Miami schedule on the main two courts:
Men: 7 matches
Women: 4 matches

Like Indian Wells, NOT EQUAL. Why?

That said, Serena is worth more to the WTA than Federer/Nadal are to the ATP. Once Serena retires – probably by the end of 2017 at the latest – they are going to nosedive financially unless, a Ray Moore said, someone like a Bouchard starts winning Slams.

MMT Says:

Dennis & Sean: I agree it’s economics, I just don’t think it’s moral to now insist on altering the agreement unless they’re in the midst of a renegotiation or the horizon on the current agreement is approaching.

The ATP entered into an agreement to share events and prize money when it was in their interest to do so. They can choose to exit joint events that aren’t economical (and maybe that’s why Ray Moore was imploring the women to do their fair share to grow the joint events), which could be all of them, if the bump they get from joining the ladies isn’t big enough.

That makes perfect sense economically.

James Says:

I would love to see women complain about equal pay here (article on male versus female models):

It’s a man’s world, except in the world of making money as a fashion model. According to a new ranking from Forbes magazine, male models are still making a fraction in annual salary when compared to their female counterparts.

Forbes magazine, which tracks the wealth of celebrities, politicians and other influential figures, this week released its list of the world’s highest-paid male models. According to the report, the 10 top-earning male models raked in a combined total of $8 million from September 2012 to September 2013 — about one-tenth of the $83 million the 10 top-earning female models earned during that time.

At the top of this year’s list was Sean O’Pry, a 24-year-old from Kennesaw, Ga., and the face of several major campaigns, including Versace, H&M, Hugo Boss and Giorgio Armani. O’Pry made an estimated $1.5 million, which is a pittance compared to the $42 million that Gisele Bundchen, the world’s top-earning female model, made in that 12-month period, according to Forbes.

James Says:

Another one (and its OK – more people want to pay to see female models, so why shouldn’t they make more???)

While the overall pay gap for men and women is persistently skewed toward guys’ favor, there’s at least one industry where women reign supreme: modeling. As the first New York Fashion Week for men kicks off this week, it’s worth taking a look at just how much more female fashion models make than their male counterparts.

lylenubbins Says:

If it’s draw power we are talking about (and I agree that is what should drive $) maybe Serena is complaining about the wrong issue. She personally is a much bigger draw than all the other women and most of the men as well.

RF Says:

Great point about modeling James. Surely this highlights the contradiction that exists in the mind of certain people — equal pay when it serves our purpose, unequal pay again when it serves our purpose.

And then those who subscribe to that view-point keep shouting about “patriarchy” in sports ? As Johnny Mac would say: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

RZ Says:

I don’t think modeling works as an analogy. Models work based on how much demand there is for their services. So if the top female models are in higher demand, they work more photo shoots, videos, etc. Tennis players don’t get prize money based on demand; they get it based on how far they get in a tournament. At joint tournaments, tennis players who reach the same rounds play the same amount of matches. It doesn’t matter if they win in 20 minutes or 3 hours; prize money isn’t based on time, it’s based on results.

RF Says:


RZ, you’re absolutely wrong. Are you arguing that female models and male models are paid equally on an hourly basis and it’s just that because of demand, they work more hours and hence end up getting paid more ? You do realize that if the demand is so high, the top female models WOULD (and they do) jack up their hourly rate, and therefore they WILL earn more than their male counterparts even on an hourly basis.

Take for instance this quote from Linda Evangelista:

“We have this expression, Christy and I: We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

That’s basic demand and supply economics.

RZ Says:

@RF – I didn’t do a good job of making my point above. I’m not arguing that it’s based solely on time, although time is certainly a factor in modeling because the higher the demand for a model, the more hours that model would work. What I’m saying is that the structure of modeling pay is based on demand; the structure of prize money is based on merit. That’s why the comparison doesn’t work.

RF Says:


Again I disagree. You cannot discount the number of attendees,TV viewership — in short, revenue generation — as a determining factor in prize money. I mean that’s precisely the reason why double players earn much less than their singles counterparts. It’s not only about the result, it’s about revenue generation.

jane Says:

this is from billie jean king, for whom i have great respect:

Billie Jean King ‏@BillieJeanKing 4h4 hours ago
.@ChrissieEvert & I had a great talk w/ @DjokerNole today at @MiamiOpen. ***He’s a class act and a true champion.***

MMT Says:

BJK: The privilege of pressure…

Do you think it’s possible that by excluding the women from the ATP (as BJK indicated was not her preference), they forced them to band together as the WTA. Today, they generate $400M from television rights, and millions more in sponsorships, only a sliver of which they would have had access to had they been subsumed by the ATP.

Evolution is a funny thing…

RF Says:

BJK also once said in an interview:

“I would like the guys to play only two of three sets [at Grand Slam tournaments], because I know we’re wearing them out, and I want them to last longer. The [Roger] Federers, the [Novak] Djokovics, the [Rafael] Nadals, I want them to play forever. The way we set it up is so demanding physically now. My generation was like pitty-pat compared to them, and it’s too much for the guys. I think it cuts off about five years of their careers, and I wish they would play longer.”

Wear-out is a straw man’s argument; there are only 4 grandslams in a year, not 10. Besides, and more importantly, 5 set tennis is a whole different ball-game which requires a different mindset and a different approach to tennis. If women can’t play or are incapable of playing 5-set tennis, is it the fault of men’s tennis ?

And also, “. My generation was like pitty-pat compared to them, and it’s too much for the guys. ”

Look she’s admitting it herself, and instead of arguing that men should get paid more, she’s saying they should play 3 sets and diminish the value of the product they’re offering ! Laughable really.

Despite the fact that she deserves appreciation for being a leader for women’s rights, the reality is that she has always wanted equality on HER terms. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Because true equality is a slippery slope if you truly want it ; hence the reason people come up with self-defined notions of equality and inequality which serves their purpose.

Ron Smith Says:

What Djoker said was spot on. Serena is just angry because the truth hurts…this pc environment is funny. I really enjoy watching the women’s game, but I’m in the minority. How about they start playing tournaments at seperate venues and see how it all works out…? Serena should have a little gratitude because the women’s game is an inferior product Compared to the men’s game. Is she so quick to forget her match with karsten braasch? Anyways, without the men’s game the WTA would be the WNBA. The feminists and PC police went crazy on this one…

Van Persie Says:


I did just read Everts comments on Djokovic.
I would like to ask her, where was the capitalism at his strongest if not in Amerika?

Van Persie Says:

Correction: at its strongest

Margot Says:

Women’s final Roland Garros 2014 was far more competitive and exciting than the men’s.
Any of you guys see it?

B Myles Says:

If women were equal to men they would be playing 5 set matches and getting the same money. If they play a slower game that is their problem. The money should not be equal….if they have the strength to play 5 set matches. Whetever way you look at it men should be getting more money and their matches are usually more exciting and physical…..if not there would be no segregation. If Sarena has anyhting to say, then they should play the men and the winner gets all….which, I imagine, would be the man. End of argument.

RZ Says:

@B Myles – at Indian Wells, Miami, etc., the men play best of 3 just like the women. The best of 5 argument only holds up for grand slams, and women have offered to play best of 5. The slams won’t take them up on it.

MMT Says:

The women are claiming they want to play best of 5, but the majors won’t allow it for scheduling reasons:

Personally I don’t buy it – if they really “demanded” to play best of 5 and were denied, they would protest (like the ATP did in 1973 at Wimbledon). It would be resolved in about 3 weeks. They don’t want to, so they won’t – why play best of 5 when you can get paid the same to play best of 3?

skeezer Says:

My recent years fav was Roberta Vinci’s run at the 2015 USO
:-). Some lovely moments there..

Vasquez1992 Says:

Serena Williams is a complete idiot!

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