Frenchman Gilles SimonÂ seeded 13th at Wimbledon told French media he did not think the women should get equal prize money in tennis.
â€œI think that menâ€™s tennis is really ahead of womenâ€™s tennis at this stage,â€ Simon told French-language radio after his first round match at Wimbledon on Monday. â€œOnce more, the men spent surely twice as much time on court as the women at the French Open. We often talk about salary equality. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s something that works in sport. I think we are the only sport that has parity with the women in terms of prize money. Meanwhile, menâ€™s tennis remains more attractive than womenâ€™s tennis at this moment.â€
Since his statements, itâ€™s been the hot topic of discussion of the tennis world at Wimbledon. Simon is a newly elected member of the ATP Player Council.
Women have been receiving equal prize money at Wimbledon since 2007, the last of the majors to do so.Â TheÂ US Open was the first to offer pay equity in 1973.
“Tennis, including the Grand Slams, is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality.Â I canâ€™t believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise.Â This type of thinking is exactly why the WTA was founded and we will always fight for whatâ€™s right,” said Stacey Allaster WTA Chairman and CEO.
Here is what some of the players had to say about it in their post-match news conferences.
Roger Federer: â€œI don’t know.Â Is this the first time I’ve heard this or is this an ongoing subject for years?Â I mean, I don’t know what to tell you.
â€œI hope it doesn’t become a big issue during Wimbledon.Â It’s obviously a debate that’s out there ever since I guess the slams have made equal prize money.Â There’s nothing you can do anyway about it.
â€œIt’s just a matter of who believes what, and then that is an endless debate.Â So whatever you believe.â€
Ana Ivanovic: â€œYeah, it’s always been talked about, but we are different physiques, as well.Â I think we earn our money, as well.
I mean, I was two and a half hours out there today (laughter).â€
Heather Watson: â€œOh, I haven’t really thought about that.Â I don’t really have much of an opinion on it.Â Whatever it is it is, I guess.
I think it is tough for the guys, especially at Wimbledon because it’s five sets.Â At all the other tournaments it should be the same.Â We play the same amount of sets and have to work just as hard.â€
Samantha Stosur: â€œI actually hadn’t heard any of that.
â€œNo, I think everyone’s going to have their opinion.Â For some reason it comes up every single year.Â Men think this, women think that, and then you’ve got people in between.Â I think it’s a debate that’s never gonna finish.
â€œI think we deserve it.Â I think people come out and watch us play because they want to watch us play.Â I think there are a bunch of men’s matches that go five that are pretty boring to watch, as well.Â It’s not like a bestâ€‘ofâ€‘five match is better than a bestâ€‘ofâ€‘three, I don’t think.â€
(In reference to Simon saying he remembered Rome Womenâ€™s final when only 20 people showed up)Â â€œI’m sure it’s not because 20 people showed up for one final.Â Again, it’s an opinion that some people are going to have and others aren’t going to agree.â€
â€œI think it’s a little bit unfair.Â Like I said, I think people come out and they want to watch a women’s match or they want to watch a men’s match.Â If it’s a hour and a half match, great; if it’s a fiveâ€‘hour match, great.
â€œI don’t think the duration means it’s better.Â You want good quality.Â Like I said, not all men’s matches are fun to watch either.Â Of course there are some women’s matches that go pretty short, too.
â€œThat’s where we’re at.Â I don’t think it’s necessary to play bestâ€‘ofâ€‘five.â€
Sloane Stephens : “I don’t care what he says about anything. He hit me with a ball the first time I was a ballkid. He hit me in the chest, because he lost a point and lost the set. He turned around and slammed the ball with his racket and hit me … and I’ve never spoken to him since then.”