VOX POP: Should Wimbledon's women players be paid the same as the men?

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The Independent Online
TIM HENMAN

WORLD No 6

You look at the prize money levels on the men's tour and then you compare those with the Grand Slams and there is still a big difference, but [on] the women's regular tour they're probably playing for a pittance. They should worry about getting their own tournaments at a bigger and better level. If they're saying they want more in the Grand Slams, that's probably getting a bit greedy. Week-in, week-out, they should be trying to get more money for themselves, because I think they deserve it. Their game is very exciting at the moment.

BILLIE-JEAN KING

WON 20 WIMBLEDON TITLES

The money that Wimbledon is saving - less than two per cent of its profits - is not worth the resulting ill-will and distraction. Runners who compete at 100 and 1,500 metres get paid more than those who run 10 kilometres and most people would rather watch a great two-hour movie than a four-hour movie of any quality. The difference is generating adverse reactions among an increasing number of fans and commentators. Treating women as less valuable than men generates ill-will that is disproportionate to the money you are saving.

JANA NOVOTNA

WIMBLEDON CHAMPION 1998

I will, of course, support the WTA Tour efforts to get the equal prize money at the Grand Slam tournaments, because I simply think that women's tennis nowadays is very strong. If one Grand Slam, the US Open, could pay equal prize money for women for a number of years I don't see why any other Grand Slam shouldn't, especially nowadays. I think the women's tour is more interesting and just stronger than ever. It has nothing to do with being greedy, or that we are complaining about not being paid well enough.

JOHN CURRY

ALL ENGLAND CLUB CHAIRMAN

We address the prize money issue every year and we try to be fair, reasonable and rational. At their own tournaments, the women pay themselves on average less than 50 per cent of the men's prize money, and they both play the best of three sets. The women players have every right to request increases in prize money, but it seems reasonable that they achieve this from their own tournaments first. With the second highest prize money in the world, Wimbledon already demonstrates equality, unlike the women's own tournaments.

FREW McMILLAN

FIVE-TIME DOUBLES CHAMPION

It's not justified at the moment, although I could sanction equal prize money from the quarter-finals on. There's just not enough quality in the women's game, even though they've made huge strides in the last few years. Equal money has been attained at events like the US Open because of a huge political lobby. The majority of spectators come to see the men. But it will be difficult for Wimbledon to hold out and what's the difference in terms of how much extra it would cost? So in many ways it's political against principle.

JOHN McENROE

THREE-TIME CHAMPION

The old arguments are no longer relevant. The men play best of five sets at Grand Slam events, while the women play best of three. So what? The fact is that fans buy tickets to watch great tennis played by great personalities in big events. And the women are selling the tickets. As I walked round during the French Open, three out of every five people I spoke with asked me about the women's matches. They are accessible, with the logical result that we know and care about them. The men need to do the same.

STEVE TONGUE

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