Competing in the Miami tournament, Stefanos Tsitsipas was asked to comment on the fact that Grand Slam tournament prize money is the same for male and female athletes. The Greek’s statements sparked a wave of backlash by suggesting the women’s matches should be decided on a best-of-five ‘sets’ like the men’s.
“I don’t want to get into controversies or anything like that. There’s this discussion of equal prize money and women playing best-of-three sets. I don’t know, there are many statistics and also data that indicate that women have more stamina than men. I think they could also play best of five,” Tsitsipas said.
“In Grand Slam tournaments I think it would be a good idea. I think there would be a greater variety of winners if the format was best five ‘sets’ like there would be on the men’s tour if the format was the best of the three,” he added.
“Awesome, big brain. An enlightened one,” said Czech Karolina Pliskova, the first tennis player on the women’s tour to react to Tsitsipas’ proposal.
Former world number one Naomi Osaka followed with more elaborate arguments: “This guy is very funny. Does he want to play nine sets? It’s just that if he wants to increase the number of sets in my games, I will increase in his.”
“I think it would change the structure of tennis. People (women) should prepare differently, spend more time in the gym. It would also be something that would take a long time to implement. But he’s a man talking about a women’s sport, so I don’t think the idea will work,” added the Japanese.
And he added: “I don’t mean to be rude, hope I don’t put it in a nasty way. It took decades of hard work, and equality in premium payments didn’t happen overnight. Over the years, the women’s tour has championed this idea through tennis players such as Billie Jean King, Venus and Serena Williams.”
“I think ticket sales are important and I think the circuit has also managed to increase its income. The public will watch the matches of the tennis players they find most interesting. The box office income that you can generate are very important and the circuit does a good job.