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Tennis prize money issue a possible backdrop at Wimbledon 2016

June 27, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM

A disagreement about equal prize money for men and women in championship tennis erupted in March. It hovers over the Wimbledon tournament because the defending men's and women's champions, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, recently staked out opposite sides on the issue.

Britain's Andy Murray, who beat Djokovic to win Wimbledon in 2013, has also weighed in.

Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments; the other three are the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, and the French Open, often called Roland Garros. The Grand Slams have instituted equal pay. The U.S. Open was the first to introduce it, with Wimbledon the last.

The undercurrent of sentiment that men deserve the lion's share of the prize money persists. It was refreshed in March by the chief executive of the Indian Wells tournament in the United States, Raymond Moore, who sparked outrage by remarking that women players ride on the coat-tails of the men. The Djokovic comment afterwards, that men should make more money because more fans come to see them, sparked equal ire.

Williams' widely reported response was: "Novak is entitled to his opinion, but if he has a daughter -- I think he has a son right now -- he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy."

Murray weighed in. Arguing for equal pay for women, he upset another player with his example. Sergiy Stakhovsky took umbrage at Murray's suggestion that he would attract a smaller crowd if playing at the same time as Serena Williams at a major tournament.

5 Reasons Why Tennis Should Keep Paying Men and Women Equally (Money 22 Mar 2016)

Andy Murray feuds on Twitter in tennis pay dispute (CNN 24 May 2016)

Doesn't Stack Up: Murray, Stakhovsky get into Twitter debate (Tennis 23 Mar 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-03-30