Rafael Nadal has a strong (and correct) opinion about equal pay for women's players

Nadal thinks there is a greater issue than simply equal pay.


Let us forget about the Grand Slam winnings for a moment. Each major pays the men's and women's winners equally and that is fair. The tournaments are more about the vents themselves than the specific players. That is how it should be. But as Rafael Nadal knows, where tennis really falters in equal pay is in the smaller tournaments.

Nadal drew some criticism several years ago when some took his comments about how female models get paid more than male models to say why male professional tennis players should get paid more than female players. His argument with the models was that female models generate more revenue for the companies they are working for than male models. Some interpreted that as male players generate more revenue for tournaments than female players so male players should earn more.

In reality, however, that is not what Nadal meant at all. He fleshed that out in a recent interview with La Sexta (via Marca). The Spanish great would welcome women players making more than men do, but the issue is that female players lack the same kind of opportunities that men's players do. The smaller tournaments pay women's winners less than equal events do men's players. The blame should be placed on the tournaments themselves as the system has failed.

Rafael Nadal voices his thoughts on equal pay for women's players

According to Rafael Nadal, "What is unfair is that there is no equal opportunity. If you ask me if I am a feminist, if a feminist means saying that they deserve the same opportunities, yes I am. I don't want me to earn more than Serena Williams because I am Rafa Nadal. I want women to earn more than men if they generate more than men."

The fact is a well-organized tennis tournament will draw tennis fans to the stadiums and get eyes on television. An event that only cares about trying to earn money while skipping on quality will underpay female players. The margin is smaller because the events do not have high-quality amenities and do not care to build them. They want people to show up to events and overspend on souvenirs and concessions and make organizers money.

This is not only unfair to women's players but unfair to the sport as a whole. Tennis fans love great tennis and that does not matter if it means Iga Swiatek versus Aryna Sabalenka or Carlos Alcaraz versus Jannik Sinner. Rafael Nadal is correct; the sport is flawed because of a lack of opportunities for female players, not a lack of quality tennis.

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