Murray: 'Women should play best-of-five sets'
Andy Murray says he would like to see women play best-of-five-set matches at Grand Slams, believing it would increase acceptance of equal prize money among male players.
Murray, speaking to the New York Times, said having different formats for the men's and women's fields creates two different competitions. Currently, men play best-of-five at Grand Slams while women play best-of-three.
"It isn’t about it being inferior. As I see them, they’re two different sports," Murray said. "It’s just because we play five sets. I’m not saying the men work harder than the women, but if you have to train to play five sets, it’s a longer distance. It’s like someone training to be a 400-meter runner and someone training to be a 600-meter runner. I think the women should play best-of-five sets.
"[Maybe] it doesn’t have to be from the first rounds," added the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion. "I think either the men go three sets or the women go five sets. I think that’s more what the guys tend to complain about, rather than the equal prize money itself."
Murray said he would prefer to keep the best-of-five format for the men rather than shorten it to match the women. "I’ve always played five sets at the Slams. It’s what makes them different," he said. "I would rather want the five-set rule for the men and the women. They did it before. They used to do it in finals, and stuff, I think in the tour finals, and some of the big finals on the WTA Tour. So it’s not like women cannot play five sets. Steffi Graf and [Martina] Navratilova and those players were unbelievable over five sets, and in great shape."
The world No. 2, influenced by his mother's long involvement in coaching (Judy Murray is currently the British Fed Cup captain) and the recent emergence of promising young British female players like Heather Watson and Olympic mixed doubles partner Laura Robson, said he follows the women's game.
"I like watching the big matches when the top players play against each other. I like watching the British girls play, when I can," said Murray, adding that his favorite player to watch was Agnieszka Radwanska. "I don’t watch it as much men’s tennis, because when I’m watching it, I’m kind of watching it just to enjoy it, whereas with men’s tennis I sometimes watch to enjoy, but a lot of times I’m either scouting guys or watching my opponent."