The Same Work but a Lot Less Pay for Women. Welcome to Tennis in 2023.

In tennis, women often receive second billing in mixed tournaments — less desirable schedules on smaller courts, sometimes even lesser hotels. In Madrid last week, the participants in the women’s doubles final did not get a chance to speak during the awards ceremony. The men did.

Organizers often tell the women they lack the star power of the men. At the French Open last year, Amélie Mauresmo, the tournament director and a former world No. 1 in singles, scheduled just one women’s match in the featured nighttime slot compared with nine men’s matches, then explained that the men’s game had “more attraction” and appeal than the women’s game. She later apologized, but when second billing can make it harder for women to achieve stardom, this self-fulfilling prophecy can lead to lower pay.

In March, Denis Shapovalov of Canada, currently ranked 27th, published an essay in The Players’ Tribune criticizing the sport’s leaders for not being more unified.

“I think some people might think of gender equality as mere political correctness,” wrote Shapovalov, whose mother has coached him and whose girlfriend, Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden, plays on the women’s tour. “Deep down they don’t feel that women deserve as much.”

The WTA has committed some unforced errors. At the most important mixed tournaments, attendance is mandatory for women and men. The WTA requires participation at tournaments only in Indian Wells, Calif.; Miami Gardens, Fla.; Madrid; and Beijing, but not in Rome, Canada or Ohio, even though those events rank just behind the Grand Slam events in importance. Also, the WTA awards slightly fewer ranking points than the men’s tour does in Rome, Canada and Ohio, where the women’s champion receives 900 points compared with 1,000 for the men.

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