It’s been a big year for Ash Barty, to say the least. She’s the reigning world number one, took out Wimbledon and just won a bronze medal at the Olympics. There’s no doubt that if she ran for Prime Minister next year, she’d win in a landslide.
And she’s kept things rolling with her fifth singles title, becoming only the second Australian woman to take out the WTA Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati over the weekend without dropping a single set. The last Aussie woman to do that was Barty’s idol, Evonne Gooolagong Cawley, back in 1973.
Basically, she’s going to need a bigger trophy cabinet given how much she is dominating the women’s tour right now and is the favourite to win the US Open too. But, one pretty important detail about her Cincinnati prize money has tennis fans rightly asking: “What the deuce?”
Barty takes home a pretty nice pay check of $357,000 AUD for her work in Cincinnati. Now, that’s nothing to be scoffed at. For this writer to make that kind of money, I would require about 1000 weekly COVID disaster payments of $375 (which judging by the transmissibility of the delta variant might be on the cards for me).
But, when compared to Barty’s male counterpart, it doesn’t seem like that much. You see, the men’s Cincinnati champion, Alexander Zverev, took home $918,000 for his straight sets win of Andrey Rublev – roughly 2.5 times more than Barty’s prize.
Even though prize money across the genders is the same in grand slam tournaments, in smaller tournaments pay gaps can be quite significant. For Cincinnati, the total prize money available for the men’s draw is $9.8 million, whereas for women it’s $2.96 million.
Now, of course, there will be those fedora-wearing neckbeards commenting under this post on Facebook that male tennis players should get paid more because they play more sets. But, that’s not true for the Cincinnati Masters where both men and women play the same amount of tennis; best of three sets. It’s led to ‘equal pay for equal play’ calls across social media and amongst tennis commentators.