Maria Sharapova Spotlights the 'Insane' Tennis Issue That Demands Immediate Attention


Maria Sharapova Spotlights the ‘Insane’ Tennis Issue That Demands Immediate Attention

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Former five-time Grand Slam champion, Maria Sharapova, recently spoke out about the glaring gender pay disparity in tennis, especially outside of the Grand Slam tournaments. While the Grand Slam events offer equal compensation for both ATP and WTA players, the regular ATP and WTA competitions still witness significant wage gaps, with men consistently earning more.

Sharapova expressed her concerns when asked about the rumors surrounding a potential ATP-WTA merger. She pointed out that such a merger is unlikely in the near future. She highlighted a stark example of this disparity by referencing a men’s tournament in Shanghai with a first-place prize of $1.2 million, while a women’s event in China offered a prize of only $120,000.

The former champion stressed that addressing this issue is essential, particularly in the non-Grand Slam tournaments that make up a significant portion of the tennis calendar. She emphasized the complexities involved in resolving this problem, considering the various entities, including the ATP, the WTA, and the ITF, as well as different tournament ownership structures. Sharapova acknowledged that aligning the calendar and making tennis more engaging for both men and women would take time but expressed her hope for a solution.

WTA CEO Steve Simon has previously stated the organization’s commitment to narrowing the gender pay gap, but he also acknowledged the challenges in achieving this goal. The WTA’s plans include aiming for equal payouts for men and women at joint WTA-ATP 1000 and 500 events by 2027, with a further goal of matching the prize money of single-week WTA 1000 and 500 events with their ATP counterparts by 2033. The success of these plans remains to be seen, but the tennis community is taking steps toward addressing this critical issue.


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