Simon against equal prize money; women react

by: Matt Cronin | June 27, 2012

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France's Gilles Simon, who was just elected to the ATP Player Council, tells French radio he's opposed to men and women tennis players receiving equal prize money considering the current climate.

"I think that men’s tennis is really ahead of women’s tennis at this stage," he said. "Once more, the men spent surely twice as much time on court as the women at the French Open. We often talk about salary equality. I don’t think it’s something that works in sport. I think we are the only sport that has parity with the women in terms of prize money. Meanwhile, men’s tennis remains more attractive than women’s tennis at this moment."

Simon also told L’Equipe he was upset that the ATP tour agreed to make the tournament in Rome a joint event with the women without consulting the players directly.

"The year before, the women, for their final, they had 20 spectators," he said. "And so, in that case, you save them, but when you want a practice court, there aren’t any left.”

When told of Simon's comments, Marion Bartoli told Le Figaro that "he needs to get up earlier."

American teenager Sloane Stephens reacted differently, saying she does not care what Simon says because he was mean to her when she was a kid at the Sunrise Challenger in Florida.

"He hit me with a ball when I was ball kid for the first time. He hit me right in my chest because he lost a point and set he turned around and slammed the ball and it hit me," Stephens told a small group of U.S. reporters. "Whatever he says, that means nothing to me. We had discussion about it on the court last year because he was trying to kick me off the practice court in Estoril and I'm like dude you don't have this court. His coach was nice and he asked me, 'Why don't you like him?' and I said because when I was 10 he hit me with the ball and he didn't even say sorry and kind of walked off. So I was like, 'I don't like him."

Samantha Stosur said that the women deserve equal earnings.

"I think people come out and watch us play because they want to watch us play. I think there are a bunch of men's matches that go five that are pretty boring to watch, as well. It's not like a best-of-five match is better than a best-of-three."

Simon added: “Am I going to incur the wrath of feminist organizations? I don’t care."

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