Madrid: World No 1 Iga Swiatek called for prize money equality between WTA and ATP events, saying on Wednesday that women’s tennis is now more consistent than men’s.
The reigning French Open and US Open champion is preparing to compete at the Madrid Open after retaining her Stuttgart title last weekend, defeating world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
Swiatek won a little more than €100,000 ($111,000), which some contrasted to Carlos Alcaraz’s €475,000 ($526,000) haul for triumphing at the Barcelona Open.
“I think (tennis) is better than most sports, but still there is a lot we can work on in terms of, you know, getting equal prize money on some WTA tournaments compared to ATP on the same level,” Swiatek told a news conference on Wednesday.
“Grand Slams are already even, as we know. That’s nice, but for sure it would be good if WTA would focus on that, but I don’t really want to get into that, because it’s a lot of business and sometimes politics.
“I don’t think I have, you know, a lot of influence. I just can say that it would be nice for our sport if it was equal, especially because we kind of do the same work.”
The Polish top seed in Madrid says the women’s game offers more consistency than the men’s now and can create even higher emotions.
“I also get people who are saying that men’s tennis is nicer to watch and guys can do more because they are physically and biologically stronger,” said Swiatek.
“But I think there were a lot of people, for example a couple of years ago, who were saying that (the women’s game is) not consistent and that’s a shame and it should be better, but right now basically I think, you know, we are even more consistent than the guys with our game.
“Watching women’s tennis gives the same emotions, and sometimes even like more emotions, because we are women and we are a little bit more emotional.
“But, yeah, I think it would be nice if WTA could make it even.”
In 1973 the US Open became the first Grand Slam event to pay men’s and women’s players equal prize money.
It was followed by the Australian Open in 2001, before Roland Garros and Wimbledon decided to do so in 2007.
Swiatek said she would have to get used to playing at a higher altitude in Madrid.
“I feel like the (balls) are more like flying bullets, you have to control them — and the clay is a little bit different, the movement and stuff, I just have to get used to it,” she added.
“I want to win every tournament that I go to, but Madrid, for sure, is still this kind of tournament that I haven’t figured it out for 100 per cent, so I just want to get the experience.”
Swiatek will face either Viktoriya Tomova or Julia Grabher in the round of 64, after the latter replaced British No 1 Emma Raducanu, who pulled out with a hand injury earlier on Wednesday.