Wimbledon make it a clean sweep as all four grand slam events increase their prize pools for the 2013 tournaments. The All England Club increasing theirs by 40% to guarantee $2,485,000 for the winners.
During the recent European Poker Tour (EPT) in Berlin, Boris Becker probably lost 10% of his vision through the incessant flashing lights cracking out of the bulbs of the lenses of the poker paparazzi. The megastar finished in 49th place for a $19,662 payday that took him four days of 12-hours live grinding. But had Becker rolled back the years to chose all white instead of black leather; he could have earned nearly double that by being eliminated in the first round of the 2013 Wimbledon Tennis Championships, after the All England Club became the bezzie mate of tennis players worldwide, after increasing the prize pool by 40%.
The oldest tennis competition in the world will be making its 127th event the richest yet, and it comes at a time where all four of the Grand Slam competitions will be increasing their prize pools. Wimbledon leads the way with $34,500,000 being passed out in winning checks, the Australian Open is next with $31,000,000, and then you have the French Open with $24,600,000 and finally the US Open with $22,000,000.
Unlike in poker, where the focus on the prize pool increases tend to be at the top end of the pile, the tennis grand slam competitions seem to be focusing their retinas firmly on the lower end of the tier. A first round exit at Wimbledon will this year earn you $36,500 – a staggering 62% increase on last year. Not too bad if you are fortunate enough to receive a wild card. The Australian Open also increased paychecks for first place losers by 32.7% this year. But this doesn’t mean the juice has been squeezed from the top tier, after the announcement that the Wimbledon singles winners will walk away with $2,485,000 in prize money.
When Vanessa Selbst and Liv Boeree compete with the men, and boys, of the poker world there is equal parity in terms of pay. But this hasn’t always been the case in the world of tennis. Equal pay for both genders has only existed since Roger Federer and Venus Williams both held gold in their hands – and a $1.4 million pay check – back in 2007. But Selbst and Boeree stand toe to toe with their male counterparts. Don’t get me wrong there is a huge difference between the physicality of both games, that’s not my point, instead I want to draw attention to the fact that the women tennis champion will have earned her $2,485,000 for doing half the work as the men’s champion. In poker, a 12-hour session is a 12-hour session no matter if you have an innie or an outie. The same does not ring true for a sport that has pushed for gender equality for so many years.
The ladies that will be gracing the Wimbledon stage will still only play the best of three sets, whereas the males will continue with the best of five sets. So where is the equality in that? We aren’t talking about men versus women here. Instead we are talking about women versus women, so why can’t women compete in a five set match like their male counterparts? It’s the equivalent of allowing Vanessa Selbst and Liv Boeree to enter a six-day poker competition on Day Four. There is nothing ‘equal’ about it except the pay.
Fans worried that the increase in prize pool will be reflected in increased ticket prices needn’t worry. The All England Club has maintained that there will only be the usual percentage prize increase as they intend to bear the brunt of the increases in pay. Men and women will also continue to pay the same price. Well come on, there has to be gender equality at the All England Club.