SBD/June 29, 2012/Events and Attractions

Simon Stands By Gender Comments, Citing Difference In Ticket Prices

Simon said he believes other male tennis players are "thinking the same way as me"
French tennis player Gilles Simon was “unrepentant” after stating that female players should not receive equal pay at Wimbledon and he “pointed to the disparity in prices for admission to the men's and women's singles finals at Wimbledon as evidence that his perspective is mirrored in the wider community,” according to Jamie Jackson of the GUARDIAN. He said his fellow competitors "think like me, that's for sure, if that's the question." When asked if he was “disappointed that [Roger] Federer or any of his peers had not publicly concurred,” Simon said, "I'm pretty sure they're thinking the same way as me. Maybe they can't say it. Maybe they won't, maybe they will lose, I don't know, two million dollar on the contracts if they say that.” Simon added, “I have the feeling that men's tennis is actually more interesting than women's. It's not because we play five sets and they are playing three. Just check the price of the ticket from the men's final and the woman's final for example. It's not about me anymore, it's about the tennis. That's the way it works in life and everything." Simon has “found himself under fire” from Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. With regard to his stance that the men's game offers greater entertainment, Sharapova said, "I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so." Williams added: "Definitely a lot more people are watching Maria than Simon. She's way hotter than he is. Women's tennis is really awesome" (GUARDIAN, 6/29). WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster said, “Tennis is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality. I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise” (London INDEPENDENT, 6/29).

POPULAR VOTE: In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes, “This is nonsense, for reasons that go beyond political correctness and gender equity. While it is true that (some) men's tennis is more popular at Wimbledon, it is arguably less popular right now at the U.S. Open, where Williams is America’s only hope for a title. Once you start divvying the pot by popularity, then Simon should get paid very little for his matches and Sharapova should be paid much more” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/29).

PIPE DOWN: Sharpova said the WTA’s plan to introduce maximum noise levels and to penalize those who exceed them was a “smart idea.” When asked if she could “alter her technique to reduce the noise she makes” in play, Sharapova said, “Certainly not now, not since I’ve been doing it since I was four years old. It’s definitely tough and impossible to do when you’ve played this sport for over 20 years.” In London, Victoria Ward notes tennis player Heather Watson “rolled her eyes when told about proposals to start teaching junior players how to breathe differently.” She said, “There’s an educational programme?” Tennis player Laura Robson “giggled” when told about the proposal (London TELEGRAPH, 6/29).
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