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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK
Short-change for the women

Wimbledon officials have tried to defuse the long-running row over women's prize money this year, but have they gone far enough?

The winner of the men's singles will receive prize money totalling 477,500 compared to 430,000 for the women's champion, but prize money for the women overall has been increased by 7.9%, with the men getting 4.8% more than in 1999.

The increases have mainly been reserved for the qualifying tournament and boosting the cash given to losers in the early rounds, but some of the top women stars are far from happy.

They cite the fact that their brand of tennis is every bit as entertaining as the men and they deserve pay parity.

The men counter with the old - but nonetheless true - statement that they are expected to play a much more physically demanding game over the best of five sets.

Who do you think has the most valid argument?

Should women be paid the same as men?

HAVE YOUR SAY




Professional competition, wherever it exists, adds to inequality and all the associated human vexations

Peter, Ireland
The only alternative to the contention about equal prize money, is to make the tournament amateur again. We know from history that the quality of games is not reduced when money is taken out of the equation. Professional competition, wherever it exists, adds to inequality and all the associated human vexations. I suppose players could get a grant and a fixed yearly wage from the LTA. Meanwhile, prize money could be used for the development of sports facilities in Africa, for instance, or some other vital humanitarian cause, of which there are sadly, too many to mention.
Peter, Ireland

Bring the men back down to best-of-three, equal the prize money (the women's game provides far more charismatic and engaging entertainment) and put us all of our misery. Very few men's matches (the Agassi-Rafter semi being an exception) are worthy of being watched over five pounding sets. It'll make television, scheduling and new viewers much happier as well.
Ian Rashid, Bristol, UK



430,000 vs 470,000, either way it's nice work if you can get it!

Sam, Australia
Given the hideous amount of money paid by Sponsors to the top players, I think the winners' prize money should be lowered (thats right, lowered) so more can be paid out to those who get knocked out early on. My thinking here is simple, the lower ranks still need to get to tournaments and running costs are high. Help out the lower ranks and let sponsors line the pockets of the best. On the subject of parity of pay - 430,000 vs 470,000, either way it's nice work if you can get it!
Sam, Australia

Yes, of course women should be paid the same as men. They play as hard and as well as the men, often more entertainingly as there are fewer games determined by aces, and it is unbelievable that in the 21st Century this sort of sex discrimination should still be allowed to exist.
Maureen Buch, UK



Without doubt, many women at Wimbledon are already highly embarrassed (and blushing with guilt) to be receiving multi-thousand pound cheques for participating in games lasting barely an hour

Clive, U.S.A.
Are women paid the same rate as men in other professional sports, such as basketball, soccer, ice skating, etc? I think not! The pay scale for any sport is directly related to the ability of the athletes to generate interest, excitement, and revenue. Unfortunately, irrespective of what writers of earlier comments may want to believe, women in professional sports do not provide either sufficient excitement, or glamour to generate the amount of revenue needed to put them on a financial par with their male counterparts. Without doubt, many women at Wimbledon are already highly embarrassed (and blushing with guilt) to be receiving multi-thousand pound cheques for participating in games lasting barely an hour, where the final score is in the order of 6-0, 6-0.
Clive, U.S.A.



Why not have the men play three sets, there will be no arguments and make the game more exciting

Rob, England
Surely the women's game is shorter at a maximum of three sets compared to the Men's 5 sets, so why should they be paid the same for different amounts of work? You just have to look at the lengths of the games to see the difference. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for equal rights but for that there must be equal work. It makes no sense to pay someone who does a lot of work, the same amount as someone that does less. Why not have the men play 3 sets, there will be no arguments and make the game more exciting. Five set games are too long and as a student I don't have the time to watch them.
Rob, England

If we were ever treated to a mixed singles final at Wimbledon then WHOEVER wins would have the greatest prize. Women players should think themselves lucky. If the matches were all mixed, then the prizes they would be capable of winning would not amount to their current purses. They would be beaten out of the higher levels of the tournament by the men, long before they got to the big prize games.
Haze, UK

Now that the women are getting stronger and fitter, surely they could play best of five sets, or at least no tie-break on the secind set? This would give the likes of Serena Williams more time to perform, and produce less pressure so soon into the game.
Nick Ashton, England (Hemel Hempstead)



It is nice to be in a position to argue over earning 430,000 or 470,000 in prize money plus all the sponsorship deals...

Bob H, UK
In these Wimbledon millennium championships, the old reward structure should be dismantled and be replaced with a fairer one for the 21st century, in accordance with the Equal Opportunities Act. The "5 set" trophy (now played for by men only) and the "3 set" plate (played for by women) should be open to both sexes. I wonder how the distribution pattern of the 800,000 plus winners' prize money between the sexes would then apppear? Or even the lesser prize monies? Mixed Doubles would create a problem for the new structure!
Bob H, UK

It is nice to be in a position to argue over earning 430,000 or 470,000 in prize money plus all the sponsorship deals...
Graham, England

You get paid for what you work for.The tennis association is not stupid enough to even consider reaching the decision to pay the women's champion the same amount men's is paid for. The women don't even play half of the men sets in the game. How can they ask for the same money?
Milton K. Wiah, Holland

Let's put the facts straight - women's tennis brings in a great deal more revenue than men's tennis as it is much more widely watched. If this were taken from a purely financial standpoint, women should actually be paid more than the men.
Tomas, Argentina



Make them play five sets, then pay them the same, equality means just that, EQUAL

Andy, England
I heard a report last year that the audiences for men's matches were higher than those for women's matches. As I am sure everyone realises you don't get paid for your effort but for your level in the marketplace.
Fred Smith, England

The highest paid woman tennis player is Anna Kournikova and she hasn't even won a tournament! If you look at things in perspective the differential is marginal and should be equalised, given the vast sums of monies made from sponsorship deals etc the question should be "does the prize money need to be so high?".
Gerry, UK

Make them play five sets, then pay them the same, equality means just that, EQUAL.
Andy, England

Female marathon runners have to run the full distance to get their equal prize money, so I don't see why female tennis players should get equal pay for doing less work.
Peggy, UK



I don't see why female tennis players should get equal pay for doing less work

Peggy, UK
The highest paid women tennis player is Anna Kournikova and she hasn't even won a tournament! If you look at things in perspective the differential is marginal and should be equalised, given the vast sums of monies made from sponsorship deals etc the question should be "does the prize money need to be so high?".
Gerry, UK

I heard a report last year that the audiences for Mens matches are higher than those for Womens matches. As I am sure everyone realises, you don't get paid for your effort but for your level in the marketplace.
Fred Smith, England

Let's put the facts straight - women's tennis brings in a great deal more revenue than men's tennis as it is much more widely watched. If this were taken from a purely financial standpoint, women should actually be paid more than the men.
Tomas, Argentina



Let's put the facts straight - women's tennis brings in a great deal more revenue than men's

Tomas, Argentina
Some of the men's matches only last three sets, same as the women, but the men still get paid more. If the US Open can pay equal money why can't the others?
Nikki, UK

Yes, women should be paid the same as men. There may also be an argument that women not receiving the same pay as men for doing the same job, is contrary to European Law.
Carmel O'Reilly, Britain

I have lost interest in the men's first two sets. They should drop to three 'exciting' sets and there will be no excuse for women to be paid less
Joanne, England



If the US Open can pay equal money, why can't the others?

Nikki, UK

The fact that female players at Wimbledon get less than their male counterparts is completely unfair, when all other Grand Slams give male and female players equal money.
Lisa Ryan, Ireland

Is it a question that needs asking? Has Britain really joined the rest of us in the year 2000? Women's tennis is watched more than men's tennis -not that that should even be a factor. Jolly old England needs to drop the 'old' and get with the 21st century.
Adryn Miller, USA

Of course they should be paid equally. Sadly enough, it would seem that the neanderthals still roam and rule England, thus the sad status of their nation today.
Carl, Canada

The women can play for the same prize money...just enter the men's tournament! What's that you say? They have no chance. Exactly. The public don't flock to women's events in the same numbers as they do to men's which is a pity but the level of physical fitness is way lower in the women's, on average, as is the level of committment.
Darrell Jones, USA



Make the women's matches five sets - I'm sure the likes of the Williams' and Davenport would have no qualms with that!

Annika, Scotland

Quite apart from the fact that all of the players are vastly overpaid and ought to feel privileged instead of squabbling, it remains a fact that the men not only play more sets but also generate more excitement and provide the All England Club with more revenue than the women.
Mary-Caroline, UK

The women's game is a very different one to men's, but it's not better or worse. Being less physical, it can involve more tactics and psychological aspects. I think it generates just as much interest and excitement, for different reasons. Women are not physically as strong as men so for them three sets are as tiring for them as five are for us. The pay should be equal.
Tim Faithfull, UK

Regardless of what the men think about the gruelling physical difference in matches, in this day and age women tennis players should get equal pay. If this is a problem, then by all means make the women's matches five sets. I'm sure the likes of the Williams' and Davenport would have no qualms with that!
Annika, Scotland

I agree with the comments about equal pay for an equal job. Whilst men play the best of five sets and women three, how can women with any justification claim equal prize money? Make it three or five sets for both sexes then fine, I have no quibble. As it stands now, of course men deserve bigger prize money.
John Wilkings, England



While an unfair pay structure is clearly wrong, there still remains the issue of pay per set suggesting the men should get paid more

Ruth, UK
It's quite simply ridiculous that as we enter the first Wimbledon of the new millennium that the female competitors are not paid the same as the men. It's time the game of tennis sorted out this archaic system.
Sarah, England

It's quite right that the women get paid less the men. They play for a much shorter length of time and their games do not generate anywhere near as much interest or excitement.
Matt, USA

While an unfair pay structure is clearly wrong, there still remains the issue of pay per set, which suggests the men should get paid more. Therefore, why not make the male game the best of three sets, as it will add that zest and excitement that the more dangerously posied women's game already has, and free up the schedule when the rain comes. Don't make women play five: while they are perfectly physically able to, I think an ambundance of three hour plus matches may put us all off tennis.
Ruth, UK



The women's less physical brand of tennis provides much more entertainment - for this they deserve equal pay

Susan, Australia
The men's game has more strength and depth and they play the best of five sets. Therefore there is a strong arguement that it is already easier for the top women players to make their money without having to work as hard for it.
Michael, England

The women's game is now the highlight of Wimbledon, with grass courts favouring big servers there are practically no rallies in the men's games. Whereas the women's less physical brand of tennis provides much more entertainment. For this they deserve equal pay.
Susan, Australia

The women don't get paid as much as the men for one simple reason. They're not as good. Their game does not generate the same amount of interest or excitement as the men's and they would not stand a chance against any of the male players.
Mike, England



It's a disgrace

Helen, England
It's a disgrace that at the start of the new Millennium tennis' archaic wage structure has not been sorted out. With many commentators believing the women's game to now be more entertaining surely their pay should, at the very least, be equal.
Helen, England

Everyone should be paid the same amount of money for completing the same job satisfactorily. Therefore, if both men and women play a maximum of five sets then they should receive exactly the same money.There would be inequality if one sex was paid the same for doing less than the other. Modern female tennis players are quite capable of playing five set matches, so where's the problem?
Chris, UK

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See also:

11 Jun 00 |  Sportstalk
Has Wimbledon lost its lustre?
11 Jun 00 |  Sportstalk
Has Henman got what it takes?
11 Jun 00 |  Sportstalk
Are the women more entertaining?
11 Jun 00 |  Sportstalk
Can anyone stop Sampras?
11 Jun 00 |  Wimbledon2000
Women argue for better pay
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