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Petkovic: Tennis Equality More Symbolic Than Reality

Though Grand Slams pay equal prize money, Andrea Petkovic asserts tennis gender equality is largely symbolic and not a standard reality.

The former world No. 9 says the majority of WTA events don't match ATP prize money and asserts that though Grand Slams pay equally that can sometimes work against women in the court of public opinion.

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In an interview with German publication Augsburger Allgemeine, Petkovic said because men's major matches are best-of-five sets compared to women's best-of-three set matches casual fans can conclude there is equal pay for unequal work at Slams. Petkovic believes the larger issue is the tour events themselves.

"Symbolically, we have equality, not yet," Petkovic told the publication. "We get the same prize money at the four biggest tournaments of the year, the Grand Slams—and that's always attached to us as a blemish.

“Because 90 percent of people only see tennis in connection with the Grand Slams and then think: the men play a maximum of five sets up to five hours, the women at most three—that is unfair."

Tennis Express

Ultimately, the 33-year-old German says in equality is the exception—not the norm—on the pro circuit.

"The crux of the matter is that the rest of the tennis tour accounts for 90 percent of the year,” Petkovic said. “And we women have significantly fewer tournaments and earn significantly less than the men. This means that the women's tour WTA is not equal to the men's tour ATP. There is still work to be done. There is still work to be done. But fortunately, something has happened about the body image. Even athletic women can be considered beautiful today because they stand for fitness.”


when you spot your friends in the audience 👋🏻 thank you @lithaus i had a blast! 💕

A post shared by Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovici) on

Despite the economic inequity, the world No. 99 says she's happier with the tennis lifestyle now than ever and overcame a mid-career crisis she once had over the conflict of continuing her playing career or quitting tennis to start a family.

"At 28, 29, I had a crisis. I wondered if I should just keep playing tennis now?" Petkovic said.  "What about family? But it's hard to get a relationship when you're on the road for 30 to 40 weeks a year. And if you want to have children, you should have been with someone a little longer.

"But I didn't come to any conclusion with the thoughts. And fortunately, it's all become a bit more relaxed when it comes to biology. I want to have family at some point."

Photo credit: Hopman Cup Facebook