While gender inequality is a factor that determines the amount of significance a male-dominated sport gets in comparison to women’s sport, legendary Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova expressed her discontent with the treatment of women professional tennis players and commented on the glaring gender inequality in the sport.

“Relatively speaking, I think they have been really tough, especially when it came to equality, as a general point,” Russian Sharapova told reporters on Monday, after thrashing British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-0 6-0 to reach the second round.

“I mean, sitting at a press conference in Wimbledon five, seven years ago, there was not a lot of warmth coming from that side or that perspective.”

“That’s tough. I mean, I think there is definitely a few exceptions in the game, and I’m sure that (Murray’s) been one of them. But from an effort point of view and what, you know, he’s able to do for the sport and for British tennis in a sense is iconic,” Sharapova added, Reuters quoted.

While, women’s Australian Open and the three other Grand Slams has an equal prize money as men’s, this is not the case in other tournaments.

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British player Andy Murray, who has several times championed gender equality, also agreed that tennis does not fare well at providing women an equal footing as men. He said, “In comparison to pretty much every other sport, and certainly global sports, tennis does a fantastic job in terms of equal pay at the major events,” Murray said in November last year after Serena Williams accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism in her US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka.

“I mean, sitting at a press conference in Wimbledon five, seven years ago, there was not a lot of warmth coming from that side or that perspective”

Murray said: “It’s not equal across the board in terms of all of the tournaments, but it’s really difficult to get that when you have two different organisations. For example, at a tournament in Washington, you can have the men and women playing, but it’s a bigger event for the men than it is for the women – in terms of points.”

“Then in Brisbane at the beginning of the year, for the men it’s a small tournament, smaller prize money, and for the women, it’s a very big tournament on their tour with lots of points and the prize money is bigger there. It’s very difficult to get it perfect at every single event. I sometimes feel like people view it negatively in tennis rather than celebrating it,” he added, Sports Illustrated reported.

Picture credit- Indian Express

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