Tennis News

Players' reaction to equal prize money

LONDON (Reuters) - The following is a selection of quotes from players after Wimbledon announced that women and men would receive equal prize money for the first time at this year’s grasscourt championships.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo: “It’s definitely a victory for women in general. I said it was a matter of time, and it was. They made the right decision and they had no choice, for the equality of men and women in the world, to make that choice.

“It’s great that they did it and now the French Open is going to struggle staying back. I think we’re going to have to take a step forward.”

Venus Williams, three times former singles champion: “The greatest tennis tournament in the world has reached an even greater height today. I applaud today’s decision by Wimbledon, which recognises the value of women’s tennis. The 2007 Championships will have even greater meaning and significance to me and my fellow players.”

Maria Sharapova, 2004 champion: “Wimbledon has always been a leader in so many ways in the world of tennis. I am thrilled with Wimbledon’s decision to award equal prize money. This decision will only strengthen the bond between women’s players and one of the world’s great sporting events.”

Billie Jean King, six-times former singles champion: “This news has been a long time coming and I am thrilled Wimbledon has joined the club of Grand Slam events offering equal prize money for men and women.

“Wimbledon is one of the most respected events in all of sports and now with women and men paid on an equal scale, it demonstrates to the rest of the world that this is the right thing to do for the sport, the tournament and the world.”

John McEnroe, three-times former men’s singles champion: “I think when you’ve got men and women playing at the same tournament, it is ludicrous to have a difference in pay. It would be setting an example to the rest of society in general to have equal prize money.

“There’s probably no other sport, and very few professions in this world, where a woman can earn as much as a man.”