ATP: Equal pay for equal work

ATP in that heading stands for Another Tennis Post – there’ve been a few of them, and given the amount of tennis we’re currently watching there’ll no doubt be more. 

We’ve just watched Dokic go down fighting against Safina. It was a hard fought game – but in all honesty pretty boring to watch. Here’s the thing. I don’t like watching women’s tennis. And I’m sick to death of the special treatment they get and their cries for equal pay.

I’m not against the idea of women getting paid the same amount as men – in any sport. What I am against is the preferential treatment of women in tennis. Why should we have to wait until after 10.00pm to see arguably the best player ever to play the game? Why are the women’s games played first? They’re boring, they don’t play with the same power and precision as the men and their serves are a good 40km slower. Sure, there’s the eye candy factor, and the Aussie “home girl hero” factor tonight – but at the end of the day I’d rather watch the men first and then the women (at the end of the day). 

Here’s the rub – women want equal prizemoney in the grandslams – and yet they play much fewer sets – a woman winning the tournament in straight sets throughout her fixtures will play 14 sets – a man winning in straight sets will play 21. If a woman is forced to play the maximum number of sets available she’ll play 21, a man 35.

A set generally takes somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour to play – if you take the average of 40 minutes and the middle ground for number of sets played throughout the tournament a male champion is likely to play about 18 hours of tennis. This is pretty conservative. Because in theory as games get tougher and closer throughout the tournament they last longer. You can realistically expect a mix of three, four and five set games. A woman champion playing seven games is, using the same methodology, likely to play about 11 hours of tennis. 

I’d say pay rates are pretty fair – especially given pay loading for having to play at less desirable times. You could argue that having the men’s games earlier would rate better and create more television revenues for the game. On that basis this quest for equality is actually robbing the coffers and there’s no business case for increasing women’s prize money.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.