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From controversy to advocacy: Novak Djokovic’s stance on equal pay in tennis

Novak Djokovic’s views on equal pay in tennis have certainly changed in recent years

Novak Djokovic Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 27, 2023 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is pictured during a press conference after winning his semi final match against Tommy Paul of the U.S. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Novak Djokovic is one of the most successful tennis players of all time, with numerous accolades and records to his name. However, the Serbian has also been known to make controversial comments in the past, including on the topic of equal pay in tennis. Djokovic has been criticised for his stance, but in recent years, he has taken steps to address the issue and become a vocal supporter of his female colleagues.

In this article, we will explore Djokovic’s stance on equal pay in tennis and the evolution of his views over time.

Early controversy

Djokovic’s early comments regarding equal pay in tennis were met with backlash from many in the tennis community. Djokovic weighed in on the issue, stating that men should fight for “more” money in tennis because the stats show that men’s matches attract more spectators. (When looking at online betting on tennis markets, there is more interest in men’s matches, but women aren’t that far off.)

Djokovic’s comments were met with criticism from many, who saw them as dismissive of the achievements of female players and an attempt to undermine the progress made towards equal pay in tennis.

Change of heart

Despite his early comments, Djokovic has since become a vocal supporter of equal pay in tennis. In a statement released in 2016, he apologised for any offence caused by his earlier remarks and stated that he had “a huge respect for all” his female colleagues.

Since then, he’s made numerous public statements supporting equal pay in tennis and advocating for better pay distribution for lower-ranked players. In 2019, he even suggested that men should consider taking a pay cut to ensure that women receive equal pay.​

Co-founding the Professional Tennis Players Association

In 2020, Djokovic took another step towards addressing the issue of pay distribution in tennis by co-founding the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). The organisation aims to give players a greater voice in the decision-making process and ensure that they are fairly compensated for their efforts. Djokovic has stated that the PTPA is not intended to be a rival to the existing tennis organisations but rather a way for players to work collaboratively toward a more equitable future for the sport.

Equal pay and the bigger picture

For Djokovic, the issue of equal pay in tennis is not just about fairness within the sport, but about promoting sex equality more broadly. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he stated that “equal prize money is just one of the pillars of equality” and that he wants to use his platform to promote positive change in society. Djokovic has also been a vocal supporter of women’s rights and has spoken out against violence against women and girls and sex discrimination.

While Djokovic has made controversial comments in the past, he has since taken steps to address the issue and become a leader in the fight for equal pay and better pay distribution in tennis. His co-founding of the PTPA shows that he is committed to creating a more equitable future for the sport, and his broader advocacy for sex equality shows that he is thinking beyond just tennis. Djokovic’s evolution on this issue is a reminder that
people can change their views and take meaningful action toward progress, even in the face of controversy and criticism. After all, we live and we learn.

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