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."

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