Williams: Daughters should share in WTA windfall

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The Independent Online

Venus and Serena Williams have brought excitement and "a ton of money" to women's tennis, and the family deserves more of the WTA Tour's windfall, their father said on Tuesday.

Venus and Serena Williams have brought excitement and "a ton of money" to women's tennis, and the family deserves more of the WTA Tour's windfall, their father said on Tuesday.

"Venus and Serena are not sharing in the revenues packages that the WTA is collecting because of them," Richard Williams said. "It's very unfair, and something should be done. I should share in that package too."

Williams' remarks came in the wake of complaints last week by Tiger Woods about marketing rights. Woods didn't rule out leaving the PGA Tour if the issue isn't resolved.

Speaking from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where the family lives, Williams said he wants an equal partnership with the WTA. If the issue isn't addressed soon, he said, his daughters might skip tournaments they would otherwise play.

"They might do a slowdown here and there," he said.

As it is, the sisters rarely play in the same events.

The impact the Williams sisters have made in tennis is comparable to Woods' effect on golf, Richard Williams said.

"I look at it as being exactly similar in the exposure they bring, the tickets, the money they generate," he said. "Any place Venus and Serena go, they sell out everything, even if they play doubles. No one has been able to sell out a doubles match before."

Bart McGuire, chief executive officer of the WTA Tour, responded by saying all players share in the revenue generated by the tour.

"The WTA is a not-for-profit organization, with the tour's share of revenues being used for overall tour operations and the day-to-day running of the tour," he said in a statement. McGuire said he's always willing to discuss operations with players and their parents.

The mercurial Williams has been known to make inflammatory remarks. Last spring he said Venus might retire, but instead she won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and two Olympic gold medals, teaming with Serena to win the doubles in Sydney.

Williams said his family - himself included - deserves a share of television and other revenue. He plans to discuss his complaints in the next couple of weeks with McGuire.

"We're talking about millions of dollars," Williams said. "We're talking about a ton of money. But I don't think we should look at from a money standpoint, but from an equal partnership standpoint."

Williams said Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport, ranked first and second in the world, aren't a factor in the rising popularity of women's tennis. Instead the credit should go to Venus, Serena and Anna Kournikova, he said.

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