23/03/16 Novak Djokovic questions equal prize money in tennis

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Djokovic said statistics should be used to determine distribution of prizes

Vocabulary. Read and check you understand this before you read and listen to the article:

counterpart (n): a person who has the same function/position as another in a different place or situation

fight (vb – context): to campaign against s.t. unjust/unfair

deserve (vb): have or show qualities worthy of reward

prize money (n): money given to a competition winner

challenge (n): a task or situation that tests one’s abilities

undermine (vb): to reduce the effectiveness of s.t.

irrespective (of) (adj): without taking s.t. into account


World number one Novak Djokovic says male tennis players should earn more money than their female counterparts, as more people watch their matches.

After claiming victory at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, 11-time major winner Djokovic said the men’s tennis tour “should fight for more”.

Djokovic, 28, said women “fought for what they deserve and they got it”, but claimed prize money should be “fairly distributed” based on “who attracts more attention, spectators and who sells more tickets”.

There has been equal prize money in all four majors – the Australian Open, US Open, French Open and Wimbledon – since 2007, and combined Masters events such as Indian Wells and Miami pay the same to men and women.

But female players are paid significantly less at women-only events when compared to similar sized men’s events.

The Serb admitted it was a “very delicate situation” and was “completely for women power”. He said:

  • Equal prize money has been the main subject of the tennis world in the past seven or eight years
  • Both men and women’s games should “fight for what they think they deserve”
  • Women have to go through “hormones” and other challenges men do not
  • Women have to make “sacrifices for certain periods of time, the family time or decisions that they make on their own bodies in order to play tennis”

A debate about the relative strengths of the men’s and women’s game should not be off limits.

Novak Djokovic’s comments are shared by very many in the men’s game.

He is suggesting prize money at combined events should be distributed on the basis of ticket sales and TV viewing figures.

That may lead in future to women being paid more, but could also fatally undermine the principle that men and women should be treated equally for competing on the same stage – irrespective of the number of sets they are asked to play.

“Let’s chat about that!”

  • In general, do you agree with what Djokovic says? Why / Why not?
  • Women have fought hard for equality in this sport. Why should they give up now?
  • Should all sportspeople be paid the same amount of prize money? Why / (not)?
  • If so, why don’t they play against each other in competitions?
  • Male tennis players play 5 sets, females only 3 sets, but men do less housework than women. Are the two situations comparable?
  • The Olympics used to be amateur. Do you think all sports should become amateur again?

Write your answers and send them by email to your ECP coach. Why not record your voice too? Listen to yourself speak and identify what you have to improve on 🙂



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