Maria Sharapova identifies 'insane' issue that tennis 'needs to address'

Sharapova shares her thoughts on the gender pay gap in tennis.

by Dzevad Mesic
Maria Sharapova identifies 'insane' issue that tennis 'needs to address'
© Getty Images Entertainment - Stuart C. Wilson

Maria Sharapova feels the gender pay gap outside of Grand Slams is "insane" and highlighted that tennis as a sport "needs to address" that. At the Grand Slam level, ATP and WTA players are equally compensated. On the regular ATP and WTA levels, men are still being paid much more than women.

Sharapova, a former five-time Grand Slam champion, was asked about the rumors of the potential ATP-WTA merger. “That’s not going to happen, not soon. Just this week there is a men’s tournament still happening in Shanghai with the winners’ prize cheque at $1.2million.

At the same time, there is a women’s event in China and the prize cheque is $120,000. At a Grand Slam, we are celebrating equal prize money. Great. Those are the biggest events, the biggest buzz. Then the rest of the Tour, which is the eight or nine other months, the disparity is insane.

That needs to be addressed. You have so many entities. You have the ATP, the WTA, The ITF. Different ownership of tournaments. How do you align the calendar? How do you make it interesting and engaging? It will take time, but I sure hope they do it," Sharapova said during her conversation with Bloomberg's Jason Kelly.

Sharapova wants tennis to address the gender pay gap

WTA CEO Steve Simon has made it pretty clear several times over the last couple of years that the WTA is absolutely working on bridging the gender pay gap. However, Simon also highlighted several times that accomplishing that task is not as easy as just saying it.

In June, the WTA announced their plans to have matching payouts for women and men at the joint WTA-ATP 1000 and 500 events by 2027. Also, the WTA is hoping that by 2033, the single-week WTA 1000 and 500 events will offer the same money as their ATP-only 1000 and 500 equivalents. It remains to be seen if the WTA's plans to gradually bridge the pay gap in tennis are going to work.

Maria Sharapova