As Rafael Nadal won his 17th Grand Slam at the French Open on Sunday, an interview with the tennis star published in an Italian magazine revealed that Nadal is strongly against paying male and female players players equally.
“It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make,” Nadal said, according to a translation from Yahoo News. “Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”
Q: “In tennis, should women earn as much as men?”
Nadal: “It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make. Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more”.
— naturelle (@naturelle13) June 9, 2018
Nadal’s response to the question was met on social media with disappointment.
Disappointing, but not surprising from Nadal. https://t.co/hzJu3wIRZ3
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 9, 2018
Did anyone asked him about his recent statement in the news paper regarding equal pay? I am asking as a disappointed huge Nadal fan who want to know if the story was for real.
— Lyly (@Lyly_777) June 10, 2018
The question of whether men and women should be paid equally for what amounts to equal work has been hotly debated since legendary women’s player Billie Jean King established the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, winning equal pay for women at the U.S. Open in the process. King faced significant backlash for her feminist push, and that same year famously beat a former men’s World No. 1 player, Bobby Riggs, in a “battle of the sexes” match that proved a harsh rebuke for those disparaging the quality of the women’s game.
Since then, the question of equal pay has continued to dog the sport. It wasn’t until 2007 that American star Venus Williams convinced the higher ups at the legendary Wimbledon tournament in England that men and women champions should be paid the same purse. In recent years, Raymond Moore, a former top player and CEO of the prestigious BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, was forced to resign after claiming that women players “ride on the coattails of men,” and that they should “go down every night on [their] knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born.”
Moore’s comments prompted a fiery response from all-time great Serena Williams who pointed out that the women’s final at the U.S. Open had drawn more viewership than the men’s final every year from 2010-14. But top player Novak Djokovic appeared to defend Moore nonetheless by saying that men should earn more because “we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches.”
Read the full story at Yahoo News.