Prize money at the majors is equal, however, the disparity at joint events and contrast at tournament levels on the ATP & WTA tours is criminal and conveys that Tennis still has a lot more work to do to deliver equality and an equality footing.

The bigger picture is always the story that should be told. Equal pay exists at the four majors and most of the joint ATP & WTA 1000 events and without the hard work of Billie Jean King and many other woman past and present in this sport this would not be the case.

There is however more work to do, hearing the words “equal pay in tennis” to me means equal and tennis’ problem on soo many levels is that too many people have fingers in pies and to get this sport to unite seems to impossible job and a first step for me is respecting woman’s game.

At the major joint events there is this equal pay but at 250 level and 500 level there isn’t that respect for the woman’s game whether it is the same level of tournament or even comparing a 500 to a 250.

Sydney – WTA 500 & ATP 250

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 250 – $521,000
WTA 500 – $703,580
R1 Loss
ATP 250 – $5,200
WTA 500 – $6,750
Winner
ATP 250 – $87,370
WTA 500 – $108,000

Ok, so it is a WTA 500 and ATP 250 so there is a difference but wouldn’t you expect a bigger gap in prize money comparing a 250 and a 500. Would this be the same if it were a ATP 500 and WTA 250?

Adelaide – ATP 250 & WTA 250

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 250 – $493,875
WTA 250 – $239,477
R1 Loss
ATP 250 – $5,370
WTA 250 – $2,675
Winner
ATP 250 – $43,180
WTA 250 – $31,000

Same level tournament, same site, same number of players and same date but there was different in prize money of over $250,000. There was a bigger gap in prize money that the amount available for the woman.

Dubai – WTA 500 & ATP 500

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 500 – $2,949,665
WTA 500 – $768,680
R1 Loss
ATP 500 – $21,800
WTA 500 – $6,200
Winner
ATP 500 – $523,740
WTA 500 – $104,180

Same event, a week apart and both 500 level. Over 2.1 million more available in prize money for men. An ATP semifinalist ($149,870) earns $45,000 more than the WTA winner ($104,180). The ATP winner earns more than 5 times the amount of the WTA winner.

Rome – WTA 1000 & ATP 1000

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 1000 – $6,008,725
WTA 1000 – $2,527,250
R1 Loss
ATP 1000 – $21,650
WTA 1000 – $9,456
Winner
ATP 1000 – $836,355
WTA 500 – $332,260

Ok, I do have to start off by saying the ATP 1000 is a mandatory event and the WTA 1000 is not. That however doesn’t legislate for $3,500,000 more being available for the mens draw. Same event, same week, 64 draws and billed as two 1000 tournaments. The difference is astonishing, I do think the argument one is mandatory and one isn’t is a lazy argument. To emphasise the disgrace in prize money, an ATP quarterfinalist gets $136,225 and the WTA quarterfinalists $46,322.

Libema Open – ATP 250 & WTA 250

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 250 – $725,540
WTA 250 – $203,024
R1 Loss
ATP 250 – $6,950
WTA 250 – $2,200
Winner
ATP 250 – $332,260
WTA 250 – $26,770

Erm, what is this? A quarterfinalist in the ATP 250 earns $19,595 the winner of the WTA 250 earns about $6,000 more. Same tournament, same week, same number of players and same level. That’s shocking.

To emphasise this, the winner of the ATP 250 event earned 1141% more than the winner of the WTA 250 event.

Eastbourne – ATP 250 & WTA 500

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 250 – $760,750
WTA 500 – $757,900
R1 Loss
ATP 250 – $7,480
WTA 500 – $4,610
Winner
ATP 250 – $106,075
WTA 500 – $116,340

Ok, a ATP 250 with 32 players has more money (only $3000) available than a WTA 500 with 64 players. Losing in round one of a WTA 500 gives you only about half of what you get for losing in the first round of the ATP 250 event, that makes no sense. Why isn’t more of this ATP 250 money pumped into the WTA 500? It is a higher level event.

In round two the ATP 250 loser gets $12,240 but the WTA 500 loser gets $5,860, even losing in round three only nets you $9,200.

Hamburg – ATP 500 & WTA 250

Total Financial Commitment
ATP 500 – $1,911,620
WTA 250 – $203,024
R1 Loss
ATP 500 – $13,800
WTA 250 – $2,200
Winner
ATP 500 – $331,125
WTA 250 – $26,770

Above I just compared an WTA 500 and ATP 250 on the same site, flip it to ATP 500 and WTA 250, it’s night and day. Different events have their own rules but to have an ATP 500 have $1.7 million more available is insane.

Losing in round one of the ATP event earns you six times more than the WTA event. Again, the winner earns 1134% more on the ATP than the WTA. I agree that with one event being a 250 and one event being a 500 there will be differences in pay but this is a joke and this doesn’t happen if it is an WTA 500 vs an ATP 250.

What next?

The sport has a lot of work to do, we can’t hide behind the fact there is equal prize money at major events and accept that as ok.

It reminds of last years’ Roland Garros when they defended the fact woman weren’t on the ‘Match of the Day’ slot as saying they ‘enjoy an equal footing’ with prize money, that wasn’t the point though.

It is tough to making a living on the tour for lower ranked players, to do so with some of these prize money differences is impossible. Imagine winning an event and the male counterpart wins the same level event but earns over 1000% more than you did.

When I hear all this nonsense about Tennis United bar a promo video what is the sport doing? Some of these numbers above are criminal and disrespectful to the woman’s game.

We can argue about level of events and whether it is mandatory to be there or not but it’s a lazy argument, you can guarantee if you swapped the mens event and woman’s around this wouldn’t be the same. Not a chance would you see a woman earn 1141% more than a male player at the same level event and that is an awful.

These are a few tournaments but outside of big events there are many joint events, we will see the same at the Rogers Cup soon as well. It’s awful and it needs to change and needs calling out.

It’s laughable when I hear some of these top men banging the drum about not getting enough prize money at big events, try playing at some of the WTA events and see how you get on…

Do I think the WTA have a part to play in this? I do, but how much saying do they have? I liked that they got on board and change to WTA 250, WTA 500 and WTA 1000 and I thought that would bring change it’s brought confusion. You get 280 points for winning a 250, 470 points for a 500 and 900 points for 1000 and the prize money well you can see above.

The problem is despite all these governing bodies no one governs the sport everyone does their own thing. The ITF are the “leaders” and I would use that word extremely loosely, they get bulldozed in every decision.

I hope all of the above changes.

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