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Sport
Wimbledon deuce for women and men
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club introduces equal prize money for women.
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2007 15:11 GMT

Amelie Mauresmo, Wimbledon women's champion in 2006, may have won the title a year too early [EPA]

Men and women will receive equal prize money at Wimbledon for the first time at the prestigious tennis championships this year, in a decision that overturns more than a century of inequality in pay, bringing the tournament more into line with the other three annual grand slam tennis events.
"We will be paying equal prize money this year at Wimbledon, through all the rounds in both singles and doubles," said Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which runs Wimbledon.

"The time is right to bring this subject to a logical conclusion and eliminate the difference," Phillips said of the club committee's unanimous agreement.

Social and marketing factors were highlighted as reasons the Wimbledon chiefs decided to do a U-turn to end the anomaly, hoping it would send out a positive message about tennis to young sportswomen.

Phillips added that the club had not caved in to pressure from politicians, female tennis players or women's rights campaigners.

"Tennis is one of the few sports in which women and men compete in the same event at the same time," he said.

"We believe our decision to offer equal prize money provides a boost for the game as a whole and recognises the enormous contribution that women players make to the game and to Wimbledon.

"We hope it will also encourage girls who want a career in sport to choose tennis as their best option.

"In short, good for tennis, good for women players and good for Wimbledon.

"We think it's exciting news for tennis and will provide a boost in the crowded sports landscape."

About-face

Of the other three grand slams, the Australian and US Opens offer equal pay for men and women through all rounds, while the French Open pays its champions the same amount.

The decision is a complete about-face for Wimbledon, which held out on unequal pay on the point of principle that men were required to play the best of five sets and women only the best of three.

In 2006, Switzerland's Roger Federer, the Wimbledon men's singles champion, won $1.28 million, while female champion, Amelie Mauresmo of France, was paid $1.22 million.

This year's Wimbledon runs from June 25 to July 8.

Source:
Agencies
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