Men : £655,000Now, the reason the organizers of Wimbledon have provided for the difference in the pay, is that the Men's tennis generates more revenue than the Women's side and Venus Williams refused to accept that point of view.
Women : £625,000
I believe that the organizers are right in doing what they want to do. If the organizers of the other grand slams wish to provide equal prize money, they are free to do so, and if Wimbledon chooses not to, then that is fine by me as well. I agree on the fact that the Men's tournament generates more excitement and money (tickets/ads/etc.), as in most sporting events around the world. Tennis is probably the only sport where the stardom and hype come close, but even then, perhaps unfortunately, the women's side still falls short. To me, watching Sampras was always more fun that watching the Williams sisters. Federer is still more fun that Henin-hardene and so on. The only time I thought the game was probably on par, was when Steffi Graf was at her best. Oddly enough, the Williams sisters were probably the number one reason why viewership interest in womens tennis dropped off since the mid nineties (that is another story entirely).
Why do I believe that the Wimbledon organizers are right ? Don't I believe in equality for women ? If you ask me that way, then yes ! I don't...anyone who suggests that women should be given equality, already starts with the ridiculuous assumption that women are not equal...I think they are already equal to men, and at times, may be better off...now, about any sporting event, let us think calmly and be honest with ourselves - most sporting events generate greater buzz around the mens version than the womens version. It might be the fault of the media, of the organizers, our own preconceived notions...who knows...but it still is a solid fact. The men are paid more, they get better commercials, more television coverage, are more recognisable, and so on. One reason, I think, could be that the men's games are more physical and last longer. This is certainly true in tennis...men's tennis matches last the better part of two or three hours on average, whereas the womens game is usually over in about an hour to hour an a half. This in itself means that more advertising revnue per game for the male version. Also, since the men play five sets and the women play three, the games are more exciting.
Being an amateur tennis player myself, and also a long term tennis/sports afficionado, I know that shorter games do not necessarily bring out the better player...in a shorter game, there is a lesser chance of coming back, often after a single mistake. This is true in any sport...if the game is longer, or a longer series of games are played to decide on the winner, then the better player/team prevails (Eg. : In cricket, the better test playing team is anyday better than the one-day star, the two best teams often make it to the NBA finals, etc.). If the women's tennis tournament demands equal prize money, then I say play five sets and go the distance - provide both players better chances to get back into the game in the later stages. Also, the men's version provides for more excitement, as one sees booming serves, better winners and so on, whereas in the women's game we see greater rallies and more spirited running and people getting to the ball better. For me, that just isn't enough...getting to the ball is one thing...making that great passing shot or inside-out forehand winner, more consistently, is better.
There is another thought I wish to place out there...the doubles tournament winners. The prize money for the men's and women's doubles is £220,690 and £205,280 respectively. It is around one-third that of the singles winners, but the number of players is double! Why isn't Venus canvassing for equal prize money for all winners ? Singles and doubles alike...aren't doubles players tennis players ? Don't they deserve the same amounts of respect ? It is a different style of play and difficult for the singles winners to adapt to...the doubles games are just as exciting and often involve greater reaction times than singles. Why don't they deserve the same amounts of prize money as compared to the singles games ? If you can answer that, then the reasons for the other "inequality" should become obvious...