WIMBLEDON â€“Thirteenth ranked Gilles Simon has caused some controversy this week with his stance against equal pay for men and women in tennis. The Frenchman met the media after his straight set loss to Xavier Malisse of Belgium at Wimbledon on Thursday.
In his own words:
Gilles Simon: “I never thought it was a good idea for women to play five sets.Â It was not my point of view.Â My point of view was just about â€‘ it’s a difficult topic â€‘ but it was just about the entertainment.Â If you just watch how it is working in every other, like, sport, but even for the singers, for everything, you’re just paid by the public directly.
â€œMy point was that I have the feeling that men’s tennis is actually more interesting than women’s tennis.Â As in any business or anything, you just have to be paid just about that.Â It’s not because we play five sets and they are playing three.â€
â€œI am well aware of the struggle.Â This is a fair fight.Â Actually, I’m just for it in life.Â But it just doesn’t working in the entertainment, because entertainment is not about being a man or woman.Â It’s just about, as I said, public coming to watch you or not.
â€œIt’s not about how hard you work.Â You can work hard and be a very famous singer.Â You can work hard and just sing in your bathroom.Â That’s the way it works.Â It’s maybe sad, but this is the way it works.
â€œIt has nothing to do with men and women.Â In life in general, of course, I’m for it.Â Tomorrow, if we can answer, if women’s tennis is more interesting than men’s tennis, if the price of the woman’s final is higher than the price of the men’s final, they will deserve to win more money than us.Â That’s just the way it works.Â This is nothing new.
â€œJust feel like it’s fair.Â Just to say it has to be equal because there is a struggle in life in general, I’m not sure it’s a very good argument.Â My point of view still.â€
“Well, I’m pretty sure they’re thinking the same way as me (ATP players).Â Maybe they can’t say it; maybe they won’t; maybe they will lose, I don’t know, $2 million on the contracts if they say that.Â I don’t know everything.
“In the conversation â€‘ for sure I had it in the locker room â€‘ and for sure they agree with me.Â Trust me.”
Maria Sharapova was asked to comment on Simon’s remarks in her post-match news conference:
Maria Sharapova: â€ Yeah, I mean, look, we women have fought so long to get equal prize money.Â It was a big challenge and nobody really supported us.Â It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten that.Â We’re all really proud of it, and we continue to build the sport and make it bigger.
â€œNo matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else, I mean, I’m sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so…â€
In her post-match, Serena Williams was asked to react to Simon and Sharapova’s comments about the issue:
Serena Williams: â€œOh, my gosh.Â Why do you put me â€‘â€‘ you know I can’t bite my tongue.
â€œYeah, I mean, definitely a lot more people are watching Maria than Simon.Â She’s way hotter than he is.Â Women’s tennis I think is really awesome.
â€œIt’s a great fight.Â We fought for years with Billie Jean King, and Venus as well, really set the pattern on what we should do.
â€œYou know, I started playing tennis at two years old.Â I’m sure he started when he was two years old, as well.Â I worked just as hard as he did.Â I’m sure he continues to work hard as I work hard, as well as everyone that’s on a professional level.Â We are all very professional and all work hard.
â€œWith that being said, everybody is entitled to his opinion.Â If that’s his opinion, he’s allowed to have one.Â I think that’s an opinion, so…â€
Andy Roddick: â€œYou’re going to have your work cut out for you because 64 of them have gone home.Â It’s going to be tough to track them down.
â€œListen, let’s not make this a gender issue.Â I don’t know what numbers are.Â I don’t know what we’re dealing with.Â I’ve gone about my business.
I’m sure there’s a way to figure out who people are coming to watch.Â I’m sure there’s TV ratings to look at.Â I’m sure there are ample numbers out there to dissect.
â€œAs any business goes, you look at those numbers and then decide where it goes from there.
â€œI don’t know what they are, but I’m sure as journalists they’re out there.Â If this is an important story, I’m sure you guys can figure it out.
â€œIt doesn’t matter who has an opinion, because I guarantee you, both sides, men and women, we’re going to be extremely biased towards our own product.Â So I’m sure there are better ways to look at it from an unbiased perspective.â€
Petra Kvitova: â€œOh, I think what we can do as a female tennis player is go on the court and try our best tennis, and I hope that the people enjoy it.Â I don’t think it’s about the length, but about equality.Â I think women deserve in all walks of life, not in just the tennis.
â€œI hope that the people enjoy it.Â That’s it.â€