ATP

Australian Open: PTPA backs 'amazing' equal pay at grand slams as co-founder Pospisil reveals Djokovic impact

By Sports Desk January 14, 2023

The Professional Tennis Players Association is committed to equal pay for men and women at grand slam level, according to the man who teamed up with Novak Djokovic to launch the organisation.

Vasek Pospisil, whose on-court doubles efforts helped Canada win the Davis Cup for the first time in November, said the PTPA would "fight for both sides" in its efforts to improve players' prospects throughout the sport.

The breakaway union has caused controversy, with the ATP and WTA, which run the men's and women's tours, adamant they already have significant player representation when it comes to making decisions in the best interests of tennis.

Djokovic quit as president of the ATP player council to become the figurehead of the PTPA, which was launched at the height of the pandemic during the 2020 US Open.

There was initial criticism of the PTPA when no women appeared to be involved.

However, Pospisil said at the time discussions were ongoing, and ahead of the upcoming Australian Open, its first executive committee was unveiled, consisting of four men and four women.

Joining Djokovic and Pospisil are Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner, plus WTA players Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zheng Saisai.

Pay has been equal at all the grand slams since 2007, when Wimbledon announced it would reward women the same amount it pays men.

Asked about equal pay at the four majors and the PTPA's position, Pospisil told Stats Perform: "From day one, we always knew that this would only be successful with the women, and that has always been our goal. And so we're really happy that we're gaining a lot of traction now on the women's side.

"Currently, there is equal pay at the grand slam level, I believe, so that's obviously amazing.

"It is a joint organisation, both men and women, and we'll do everything to fight for both sides.

"Obviously, they're separate tours. The WTA, ATP, and grand slams are joined, of course. So, the staff will have their hands full with trying to advocate for both sides.

"It's a unified player association for both men and women, and we're really proud of that and where we're going."

Those already involved, and those the PTPA will hope to attract, are being advised the union is aiming to bolster the rights – and at the bottom line, the earning potential – of all involved.

There is currently significantly more money on offer on the ATP tour than on the WTA circuit, which points to issues of inequality remaining in the sport.

It has been known in recent times for some high-profile tournaments, where tours converge, to pay its men's champion more than its title-winning woman. This is despite events on both tours being best-of-three-set matches, whereas in the slams women play best-of-three and men play best-of-five, a matter that has long been a trigger for equal-pay debate.

Pospisil believes the WTA has a "smart and passionate" group of eight on its ExCo and said the "energy was amazing" when the group met for dinner on Thursday in Melbourne.

"I just have such a good feeling after a few years of working on this," Pospisil said. "To finally be at the stage where we're ready to go, are launching, got everything we need, and we have amazing player board reps that honestly we couldn't be happier with."

Djokovic, a 21-time singles grand slam winner, is at the forefront, and Pospisil said the 35-year-old Serbian's role has been crucial.

"I feel like you need somebody that is at the top of the sport," Pospisil said. "So, I just think all the players and our organisation, we're very lucky that he's so supportive and that he's stuck his neck out and is fighting for what he believes in and what he believes is right."

Related items

  • Cameron Norrie suffers semi-final defeat to qualifier Mariano Navone at Rio Open Cameron Norrie suffers semi-final defeat to qualifier Mariano Navone at Rio Open

    Cameron Norrie’s defence of his Rio Open title is over after he was beaten by qualifier Mariano Navone in a gruelling semi-final.

    Norrie struggled physically in the Brazilian heat as Navone, playing in his first ATP semi-final, pulled away to win 6-4 6-2.

    The pair traded breaks in the opening two games, and then Navone, showing little fear in his first appearance on such a stage, got the break again to go 4-3 up.

    Norrie saved break point three times in the next service game, but it was only a temporarily reprieve before Navone took the first set.

    The pair traded further breaks at the start of the second set before another slog of a battle in the third game, which saw Norrie save four points on his serve before eventually succumbing.

    That proved a turning point as Navone reeled off the next two games to take a commanding lead over a fading Norrie, whose resistance had been broken.

    After falling 5-2 down, Norrie received treatment from the physio but got back on his feet to see the game out even though his fate was already sealed.

  • Cameron Norrie sees off home favourite to reach Rio Open semi-finals Cameron Norrie sees off home favourite to reach Rio Open semi-finals

    Cameron Norrie sealed a semi-final spot at the Rio Open, continuing his title defence by seeing off Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in front of his own fans.

    The British number one secured a 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory to head into the last four.

    Norrie lost just two games in a handsome win over Tomas Barrios Vera in the previous round and picked up exactly where he left off on the clay.

    He raced out of the traps, breaking Seyboth Wild’s second and third service games and holding his own to take the first set in little more than half-an-hour.

    The stands filled up considerably after a quiet start and Seyboth Wild fed off the growing support as he put together a much-improved showing to level the scores.

    With his opponent starting to grow in confidence and the noise levels rising, Norrie allowed errors to creep in with cracks in his first serve and a misjudged long forehand seeing him broken for the first time.

    Seyboth Wild was strong enough to make that breakthrough count and set up a deciding set but found Norrie back on his game as he tore into a 5-1 lead, breaking twice more along the way.

    Norrie missed his chance to finish things off at the first attempt, burning three match points as his South American opponent showed admirable resilience in a see-saw exchange of winners.

    But he soon stacked up three more match points against the serve and converted the second of them as Seyboth Wild’s unforced error ended his fight after just under two hours.

    “I was really proud of how hard I fought, it was so humid and tough physically,” he told Sky Sports.

    “It was a tough one and the atmosphere was great. These are exactly the kind of matches you want to play.”

  • Defending champion Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals Defending champion Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals

    Cameron Norrie remains on course to defend his Rio Open title after easing into the quarter-finals.

    The British number one won last year’s tournament in Brazil and his path to repeating his glory opened up earlier in the week when top seed Carlos Alcaraz withdrew because of injury.

    And he made light work of Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera on the clay, dropping just two games in a 6-1 6-1 victory.

    Barrios Vera, ranked 120 in the world, was no match for the Norrie, who overcame an early exchange of breaks to reel off four successive games and win the first set.

    Another run of four games on the spin was enough to get the job done with little fuss to set up a quarter-final meeting with Thiago Seyboth Wild.

    “I really played well and was accurate, I hit the lines and was able to control the games,” Norrie said on Sky Sports.

    “I enjoyed it, last night waiting around, it rained a lot and I had to come out and reset and I was able to do that so I was really pleased.

    “I am going to keep focusing on myself and my level and I want to make sure I take care of my matches like that.

    “It’s tough, it’s humid, there’s been a lot of rain and the clay is heavy. It’s not easy out here but I feel like I can play well when the matches go long.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.