Mattek-Sands: Women upset with men for not communicating possible Oz boycott
Bethanie Mattek-Sands says the WTA Players’ Council is upset with the men’s ATP Players’ Council for not approaching them before they decided to threaten a boycott of the 2013 Australian Open over prize money. Player council representative Mattek-Sands added that it’s doubtful the WTA players would consider doing the same, as it’s too late to organize another tournament at the same time, like the men have floated the idea of doing.
“This is the first we heard of it,” Mattek-Sands told TENNIS.com and ESPN.com. “We all know what Gilles Simon said at Wimbledon [that he’s against equal prize money] and it’s tough because they really don't talk to us a lot. We agree with some of the things of they want, like [a higher percentage of overall revenues for [prize money], but they haven’t approached us. I think everyone would agree the best tournaments are the combined events. That’s where we get the most fans and prize money and I’m not sure why they don't want to talk to us. We’d love to sit down and talk to them. It’s tough when it’s in the media and they aren’t even giving us a chance to say whether we agree with you.”
ATP Players Council vice president told Eric Butorac that the ATP Players’ Council has not completely ruled out boycotting the Australian Open. While Butorac wouldn't give specific number, he did say that a 20 percent increase in prize money would be close to that they are looking for. The 2012 Australian Open increased prize money to A$26 million, up from A$25 million in 2011 (3.8 percent).
“You need to be unified in the decision and I think a lot of girls would agree with [their stance],” Mattek-Sands said. “It won’t look good [for the guys] if they are the only ones.”
Mattek-Sands is part of new elected Player Council that includes Serena Williams, Samantha Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova, Andrea Hlavackova, and Akgul Amanmuradova . While the WTA players did meet at the U.S. Open over a variety of issues, Mattek-Sands says that the council hasn't had enough time to talk to the other players about the Australia issue.
“It’s a tough one for us because out season is ending pretty soon,” she said. “It’s too quick for the women to do something, even if we agree with what the [men] are doing, it puts everything in awkward position. Whether they want to be on one side or another, what I’m disappointed about is we haven’t been included in any conversation and they haven’t told us one way or another.”
Mattek-Sands also added that the Players Council is upset with the ITF for increasing the Fed Cup requirements for the 2016 Olympics without speaking to them first. She said that there have been preliminary discussions within the WTA to hold its own international team competition, possibly beginning in 2014.