Rafael Nadal shares his honest and strong opinion on equal pay in tennis

Ewan West
Rafael Nadal on the comeback trail
Rafael Nadal on the comeback trail

Rafael Nadal has weighed in on the debate over equal pay in tennis and declared there should be “equal opportunities” for men and women, but not necessarily parity in terms of prize money. 

The tennis legend expressed his support for equality, but asserted “equality isn’t about giving away gifts” and feels players’ earnings should depend on how much revenue they “generate”

Nadal has previously addressed the topic and outlined his stance in a 2018 interview with Italian magazine Lo Donna, when he said: “Female models earn more than male models, and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis, too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”

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During his recent TV interview with La Sexta, Nadal gave a longer response when asked whether he thought male and female players should earn the same amount.

“I don’t want to be hypocritical and say things that are easy to say and that I don’t feel. What do you want me to say? For me, the investment for women should be the same as for men,” the 22-time major champion said.

“The opportunities, the same. The salaries, the same? No, for what? It’s not unfair, what’s unfair is that there isn’t equal opportunity.

“I have a mother and a sister. If you tell me that men and women deserve the same opportunities, I’m a feminist. This term is taken to the extreme. If we’re talking about logical and normal things in this conversation, of course I want equality.

“For me, equality isn’t about giving away gifts, but if Serena Williams earns more than me, I want her to earn more than me. I want equality, I want women to earn more than men if they generate more than men.

“What bothers me is when people tell me that income and earnings should be equal. In tennis, for some reason, the payouts are almost equal in most events because at the time there was an opportunity for women’s tennis to be seen.

“Women’s tennis is very popular around the world. I don’t want to get into a fight about this, the problem for me is the discussion.”

Nadal was due to make his return to action at the ATP 250 tournament in Doha this week, but he announced his withdrawal last week. The former world No 1 is expected to feature at next month’s Indian Wells Masters.

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