“We should be playing for the same prize money” – Murray on Citi Open’s pay disparity

The three-time Grand Slam champion believes joint tournaments should be providing equal pay for men and women

Andy Murray, Washington, 2023 Andy Murray competes in Washington 2023 Zuma/Panoramic

Andy Murray has reiterated his call for equal prize money to be awarded to male and female tennis players competing at the same tournament.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has long been vocal in his support for equality across both tours, and believes that players sharing the same courts at the same event should be provided with the same prize money.

The Citi Open, taking place this week in Washington DC, is a 500-level event on both the WTA and the ATP, providing a joint-level tournament across both tours for the first time in the US capital.

As such, it is being promoted as an example of sporting parity in tennis. However, there remains a significant pay disparity in prize money being offered by the tournament.

Pay disparity at Citi Open

The men’s singles winner will take home a cheque for $353,000, while the women’s singles champion will be awarded well under half that amount, earning a cheque for $120,000 for winning the title.

Murray was asked about the prize money disparity in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I always felt like when we’re competing at the same event on the same courts, you know, that we should be playing for, you know, for the same prize money,” the former world No 1 said.

“I’m totally behind equal prize money, and I think that it is brilliant that a lot of the tournaments on the tour that we have that, and I think that’s really, really positive.”

Murray went on to explain that the barrier to equal prize money remains the fact that the tours are operated by individual governing bodies.

“I think it is difficult for it ever to become truly equal until the ATP and the WTA sort of actually combine and work together.

“I don’t know what the threshold for tournaments is, like to become a 500 on the ATP Tour, if the ATP will have their set of rules as to what levels they need to reach from a prize money perspective, and I’m sure the WTA have their own.

“I think for it ever to become truly equal, the WTA and the ATP are actually going to have to come together and work as one… both tours have different sponsors, different TV deals, and all of that stuff too.”

Equal prize money across both tours remains the goal

While the four Grand Slams now all offer equal prize money, there are still a number of high-profile tournaments that do not – the Italian Open being one of them.

However, while complete parity with the men’s game has not yet been achieved, Murray also pointed out that things have improved.

“There are a few things that still need to change, but I feel like things are going in the right direction.”

Last month, the WTA revealed a pathway towards equal prize money with the ATP Tour, unveiling its plans alongside calendar changes that they hope will set them on a course for total pay parity across both tours by 2033.

There are positive signs that tennis is still moving towards full sporting equality between the men’s and women’s game.

Until then, however, this will remain a recurring topic for the tennis world.

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