World number one Iga Swiatek said she hopes the governing body of women’s football can do more to boost the tour in 2023 and further reduce the gender pay gap outside the sport’s biggest tournaments.
Tennis has sought to be a leader in the battle for equality over the past two decades with equal prize money offered to men and women at all four Grand Slam tournaments.
WTA Tour events, however, still often offer less prize money than those on the Men’s Tour which operates its own tour.
Swiatek said one of the main priorities for the tour as it celebrates its 50th anniversary should be to ensure the events are more attractive to players, sponsors, organizers and fans.
“Of course, I would like to see WTA grow commercially, become more popular, reduce the difference between WTA and ATP in terms of prize money and attract fans,” Swiatek told reporters in Dubai. .
A Financial Times report said the ATP Tour in the middle of last year offered players 75% more prize money in tournaments – excluding Grand Slams – than the Women’s Tour.
“Our tennis brings the same emotions as men’s tennis… There’s something you can find in women’s tennis that you won’t find on ATP,” Swiatek said.
“Right now, after a few years of hearing, we’re not consistent, we’re actually consistent. There are top players who are playing very well in most tournaments.”
In a decision that is expected to cost the association hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship, the WTA has suspended lucrative tournaments in China over concerns for former doubles number one Peng Shuai.
She accused a senior Chinese government official of sexual assault in a 2021 social media post that was removed from the country’s internet. She later denied making the charge.
American Jessica Pegula, world number three and a member of the WTA Players Council, echoed Swiatek. “Hopefully we can keep pushing for equal prize money at all events, being on TV more,” Pegula said.
She pointed to the United Cup mixed team tournament earlier this season as one way to achieve this. “We’re starting to see slowly more, especially with the United Cup, the response of everyone wanting to see men and women playing on the same pitch, on the same team, which was really fun for us. People love it. look at this.”