Men and women 'need to pull together' over prize money

From BBC - January 18, 2018

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has urged Novak Djokovic and other male players who want higher prize money to "get together with the women".

Djokovic used last Friday's ATP players' meeting at the Australian Open to propose the formation of a union to fight for greater financial reward.

Navratilova supports that but warned the 12-time Grand Slam champion paying men more than women is not the answer.

"We really need to pull together and not against each other," she said.

Navratilova, who won 18 major singles titles, told BBC Sport: "I think it's great that the players should be getting more.

"The percentage of the money the majors give to the players is less than it ought to be. For me, the right way to do it would be for both the men and women to get together and say, 'This is what we want and you need to give it to us or there wo not be a Grand Slam'.

"Certainly, giving more money to the men than the women is not a solution. That's the wrong thing to do and I wish that Novak would see that.

"The biggest reason why these majors are so big and so important and so meaningful is because both men and women play in them and contribute equally.

"That equal prize money discussion - I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted. You should not be asking for that. It's the wrong thing."

Women earn the same as men at tennis majors, with the Australian Open champions receiving four million Australian dollars (2.3m) each.

There is no suggestion that last Friday's meeting discussed increasing men's prize money at the expense of the women's tour, but the issue remains a subtext to the debate.

There are a significant number of men who think they should be paid more. Djokovic, who feels he has been unfairly portrayed as "very greedy" in some reports of recent days, made his feelings clear at the Indian Wells tournament in March 2016.

"I think that our men's tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men's tennis matches," the 30-year-old Serb said at the time.

"Women should fight for what they think they deserve, and we should fight for what we think we deserve. As long as it's like that and there is data and stats available upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets, it has to be fairly distributed."

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