Djokovic making double Gauff shows tennis still has a ways to go

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Novak Djokovic defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the final at the Western and Southern Open. In doing so, he won $1,019,335. That is a lot of money and he deserved that. But the women’s champion at the same tournament, Coco Gauff, was awarded only $454,500. Gauff deserved more and deserved as much as Djokovic.

Tennis is a fantastic sport, of course, and a global one. The issue the sport has is that in many tournaments the men’s and women’s champions do not get paid the same. There is the archaic argument about equal pay in the Grand Slams that the men’s winner deserves more because the men play best-of-five matches while the women play the normal best-of-three.

Needless to say that most humans could not win a point off likely anyone in a women’s field or a men’s field of a Grand Slam tournament, however. Plus, the major tournaments – the Australian and French Opens, Wimbledon, and US Open – all pay the champion of either gender the same. Heck, the last major of the year, the US Open, has paid the men’s and women’s champions the same since 1973.

Djokovic and Gauff being paid differently is the way of tennis in many tournaments

But many tournaments a notch below the Grand Slams do not. The tournament in Cincinnati that Djokovic and Gauff just won does not, for instance. The pay that went to the champions wasn’t even relatively close, in fact. But there is a pay difference at other important tournaments such as the National Bank Open in Toronto and Montreal, and the Italian Open in Rome.

The system of pay is skewed against women in general life, but tennis is not much better. Heck, at some tournaments, such as the previous three tournaments mentioned, the WTA awards fewer points  – 1000 on the ATP side but 900 on the WTA tour – to the champion. Some tournament organizers might see that and ask, “Why should we pay the champions the same when even the ladies’ own organization doesn’t award the same number of rankings points?”

Some tournament organizers that don’t pay equally might also argue that they pay partly with the revenue brought in by the men versus the women. But that could also be because women are not given the same opportunity. At the 2022 French Open, former player on the WTA tour and tournament director, Amélie Mauresmo, only scheduled one women’s match in primetime while there were nine men’s matches. How are women supposed to be able to reach equal pay if they are not offered equal opportunity?

The bottom line, though, is that massive sexism still exists. Any tournament could choose to pay the men’s and women’s champions the same, but clearly not all do. We will continue to have the issue of unequal pay until tennis can rid itself of sexist behavior. But that’s going to be nearly impossible to do as many of those sexists are wealthy men and many times the final decisions are made by the amount of money the tournament owners have, and not who might win a specific tournament.

dark. Next. Halep out of US Open while suspended