US Open – a tournament in New York, a model for other Grand Slams

The winners of the US Open will receive identical prizes of $3 million each. The tournament in New York is the first Grand Slam in which equal bonuses have been paid to both male and female tennis players for 50 years.

When Billie Jean King won the US Open in 1972, she could count on only $10,000 compared to the $25,000 that the men’s champion, Romanian Ilie Nastase, received. The American declared that she would not play next year if the prize pool was not equal. In 1973, exactly 50 years ago, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament in which men and women were paid equally – reports

This groundbreaking decision turned out to be well ahead of its time. The Australian Open has only consistently offered equal pay since 2001, with the French Open and Wimbledon following suit only six years later.

“By being the first sport to offer equal prize money, we have also made a very important statement to society as a whole. “Offering equal opportunity and equal pay to men and women everywhere,” United States Tennis ociation (USTA) president Brian Hainline recalled at an August press conference.

Sixteen years after all four Grand Slams were guaranteed equal prize money for the first time, women’s tennis is gaining popularity and a number of young stars have emerged since then. However, the gender pay gap in tennis remains essentially the same as it was in 2007, when the 10 highest-paid men amed 1.44 times more money than the 10 highest-paid women. This year, at the start of the US Open, the inequality coefficient is 1.36.

The pandemic and subsequent inability to organize tournaments in China, where prize money for women was recently increased, took a toll on earnings. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the top ten tennis players earned 53 percent more than their peers.

Last year was a perfect example of how the deck is stacked against female competitors. Iga Świątek recently had one of the most dominant seasons of any tennis player, winning two of the four Grand Slams and winning 37 matches in a row. However, by the end of the year, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz had earned more money thanks to their on-court performances, even though they each won only one major and the Serb played in six fewer tournaments than Swiatek.

Overall, five of the top six tennis players financially rewarded in 2022 are men.

Some of the inequality is due to 250- and 500-level tournaments, which are less prestigious and provide fewer ranking points than major- and 1000-level tournaments. Most lower-tier competitions are open to either men or women, but not both genders. The total prize money available to level 250 players on the ATP Tour was more than three times that of the WTA Tour in 2019, 2022 and 2023.

However, in many events where the same number of men and women participate at the same time, men are still paid significantly more. In 2023, the Italian Open paid out approximately $8.4 million to men and just $3.9 million to women. The two major summer hard-court tournaments in North America, the Canadian Open and the Cincinnati Open, each featured $6.6 million in prize money for men and $2.8 million for women. This year’s US Open finalist Coco Gauff received PLN 455,000 for her triumph in Cincinnati. dollars, i.e. more than half less than the male winner – Djokovic.

“This needs to be improved,” Gauff said. “Attendance at my matches was higher or the same as some top tennis players. I don’t think women’s performances are less attractive. Of course, in some tournaments it is, but in the case of 1000-rank events it is not so,” added the 19-year-old.

The inequality in the Cincinnati tournament is particularly glaring considering that until last year it was owned by the USTA, the same organization that hosts the U.S. Open.

“Certainly in the case of Cincinnati, there was and still is a different player engagement system, different broadcast agreements,” U.S. Open tournament director Stacey Allaster explained when asked about the pay disparity. This is expected to change over time.

Indeed, this summer the WTA authorities approved a plan to ensure equal pay on the tennis calendar until 2033. Under the proposal, all 500-level and 1000-level tournaments involving both men and women will be rewarded equally from 2027.

The example of the tournament in New York clearly shows that the organizers treat female tennis players on equal terms with the male participants competing on the court.

However, the same cannot be said about other tournaments. This year alone, the French Open has come under fire because there was only one women’s match during the two-week tournament as part of a series of evening matches.

“I think we have a long way to go,” Gauff said. “But I can proudly say where we are now, especially in Grand Slam tournaments,” she concluded. (PAP)


Source link

Leave a Reply