Thursday, September 27, 2012

Billie Jean King wants more Federer support on prize money issue

Billie Jean King wants more support from Roger Federer when his constituents on the ATP World Tour start to complain about the unjustness of equal prize money in men’s and women’s tennis at the Grand Slams.

King wasn’t surprised to hear Gilles Simon and others bring up the old familiar argument in the build up to the recent US Open. She would like long time ATP Players Council chairman Federer to be more vocal in his response as King believes he would hopefully support the women.

Interviewed in USA Today, King believes Federer doesn’t personally object to women earning equal prize money,  but she wonders why the world no.1 isn’t more openly supportive on the subject.

King said: “I have a feeling, knowing his mother, who is a fantastic mother, Lynette is just unbelievable as a human being. She’s helped shape a lot of his thinking in life. He’s very close to her. I just think if you’re a father of daughters you should think twice before you complain.”

The winner of 12 Grand Slam singles titles is more than aware of the male argument that they play the best of five sets in majors whereas the women only play three. But she answered: “I just cringewhen they go to five sets.

“Nobody should play best-of-five sets. That tennis is more physically demanding, and long matches are shortening players’ careers. That, and it’s just not entertaining.”
In the current economic times, King is insistent Stacey Allaster is doing a tremendous job as the WTA’s chief executive officer in terms of bringing in revenue from sponsorship.

“We’re women, and it’s harder for us to get sponsors,” said King. “We have equal prize money at all the majors — that’s where Venus (Williams) stepped up. The women also are sticking together better. They’re understanding how the Old Boy Network works.”

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