They’re right but aren’t they going to get stick for being so

Novak Djokovic, tennis world number one, said he believed men should be awarded more prize money than women as their matches have more viewers.
He made his comments after winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday and defended the use of viewing statistics to determine prize money.
Earlier the event’s chief executive, Raymond Moore, provoked controversy ahead of the final between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams by saying the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) was a “lucky organisation” which “rides on the coattails” of the men.

Outrage in 3…2…1….

Conduct a small mind experiment. Split the two tours. Would the women be earning as much as the men?

64 thoughts on “They’re right but aren’t they going to get stick for being so”

  1. ….and the wimmin only have to play 3 sets instead of 5. Thats 60% of the men’s prize money for equal work.

  2. Comented on this to my better-half this morning.

    Got a grumpy look, but she came round when I said exactly what Tim says.

    I suspect we are reaching peak ‘feminism’ and possibly favouring minorities (any and all, just find yourself one, mee I’m left-handed and we suffer more accidents). if you follow David Thompson you can see the levels (depths) the good ol’ USA has reached and how some feminists are, at last, coming out against the stupid. And boy do the others hate them. It is vitriolic!

  3. if you follow David Thompson you can see the levels (depths) the good ol’ USA has reached and how some feminists are

    I was chatting to a guy over the weekend who was briefly dating an American in her 30s from NYC. She was steeped in feminism, a registered Democrat (of course) and looking for “a serious relationship” having been married once before (no kids). She casually mentioned during one conversation that she used to partake in orgies in NYC with her “partner” because she was “curious”. And now, in her 30s, she wants a serious relationship, presumably with kids. Oddly, she’s finding it tough going.

    American feminism has a lot to answer for: it has led women to believe you can go to orgies in your 20s and still be desirable for marriage in your 30s. This won’t end well, except for the inevitable cats.

  4. I think the comment that the female players should “get down on their knees to thank the male players” is a bit extreme. I mean they should be grateful but that is going a bit far. Though it might cheer Andy Murray up.

    It is one tennis match I might watch .

  5. We don’t need the thought experiment. The two tours are split already (WTA and ATP).

    Indian Wells is one of the few tournaments where the men and women are playing at true same time (Grand Slams are the other high profile ones).

    Women only WTA events already have far lower prize money.

    If you want to know why, then go to Centre Court on the second Monday of Wimbledon (usually the best day to see all the top players). First match is usually a men’s last 16 and the court will be full. Next up is the women’s match: the crowd disappears to refuel before all coming back for the final men’s game.

    The market has spoken.

  6. GlenDorran

    Who is worth more? An unanswerable question the answer to which is reliant on personal value judgements. Who has the greater market worth? Do we really need to have that conversation?

    I’ll start off an unscientific straw poll: I watch the mens’ games to see the top players compete; I’ll watch womens’ tennis if the birds are fit. Sorry but it’s that base

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “I’ll watch womens’ tennis if the birds are fit. Sorry but it’s that base”

    So is Venus Williams fit?

  8. @Tim Newman:

    Many people would only watch Sharapova with the sound off. And the curtains closed.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “Now that Sharapova’s taken herself out of the game, one would expect interest in the women’s game to plummet.”

    When it comes to tennis I am sure even Kant would agree it is best not to act as if one’s will is an unalterable law of nature.

    After all, another Slavic cutie is bound to come along soon enough.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    GlenDorran – “Many people would only watch Sharapova with the sound off. And the curtains closed.”

    Really? The curtains closed, sure. But it must just be me. I assumed all men liked the sounds.

    Tim Newman – “True, but the difference with Sharapova is she could actually play.”

    Yeah, well, with Anna Kournikova, who cared?

    It is not as if female tennis players play all that well. I might not go as far as Rusty as there is something worth watching apart from some nice legs. But not much.

  11. it has led women to believe you can go to orgies in your 20s and still be desirable for marriage in your 30s.

    I don’t quite follow that. Lots of people do wild things in their 20s. And feminism tends to be quite puritanical about orgies.

  12. The solution is simple.

    You have a single tour on which men and women play on an equal basis, they play each other, fully open.

    And then you have another tour, like the UEFA cup, for the losers at which only women are allowed to play.

    The final stages of the open tour would be an all male affair.

  13. Theophrastus – Venus is all woman, just imagine her with half a bottle of champers on the inside, and half a pint of warm baby oil on the outside, in a log cabin, with a roaring fire – I think she’d do jolly well.

    Time to go and lie down…

  14. Have pointed this out on Cricinfo to some whinger complaining the women’s team travelled economy and the men’s business. Cricket is worse, the women are sh*t and would be murdered by a club side. Most female cricket fans aren’t interested let alone the men.

  15. >Now that Sharapova’s taken herself out of the game, one would expect interest in the women’s game to plummet.

    The opposite. As soon as she comes on I turn the telly off. All that fake shrieking.

  16. >it has led women to believe you can go to orgies in your 20s and still be desirable for marriage in your 30s.

    Yes, as traditional wisdom insists, you get married in your 20’s and have the orgies in your 30’s.

  17. Now why would SMFS ask that question about Venus Williams? I know know how I would answer that question. Perhaps our Thick.Racist.Prick could provide some convoluted bollocks to show I have a bad mind to think it.

  18. And yes, Venus Williams is fit. Serena Williams isn’t. In my opinion. And in these things it used to be each to their own. Perhaps SMFS could, er, enlighten us on that as well.

  19. Top women players want a “level playing field” and earn as much as men.
    Top women players recoil in horror at the thought of a “level playing field” when competing against other women.

    But why not? All women on the Tour earn should exactly the same regardless of whether they win ten tournaments or lose every game they play in. Why should Venus Williams earn millions while Charlotte McBrit, plucky British challenger rated 875th in the world, earns peanuts? Aren’t they both playing the same game? Come on sisters, be egalitarian and fair; show the world what can be done!

    #AllInItTogether

  20. I think I’m with Rob on his one. Serena cannot on the one hand say it is irrelevant that the top 500 or so men would beat her every time or that it’s the mens’ game brings in the viewers and the sponsors and then turn around and demand more money than the PLUCKY Miss McBrit for those very same reasons. That’s just greedy!

  21. Curiously, tennis is probably the only sport in which both male and female players are household names.

    Off the top of my head I can only think of a couple of others (Jessica Ennis in Athletics, Victoria Pendleton in cycling and now horse-racing). All famous sportswomen are in individual sports rather than team sports: I couldn’t name a single ladies football player.

  22. Equestrian sports tend to be non-segregated, so the top male and female players will be household names.

    Personally, I think if the women tennis players want equal pay with the men then they should just compete in the mens’ tour. Problem solved.

  23. @AndrewM there is one of those celeb shows on TV with Bear Grylls. I’d heard of everyone but this one female, who apparently is the England women’s star centre forward, or something.

    I think the “top 500 players” stuffing the Williams’ is very optimistic. In cricket, the women “stars” are about the level of male club cricketers, where some of them play.

    TBF, there was one golfer who did play on the men’s circuit.

    Cricket is interesting because it is not entirely brute force.

    Fast bowling is, being Chris Gayle is, but why can’t women be spin bowlers, wicket keepers or batsmen in the style of many players (it’s very common in South Asia especially) who rely on timing rather than muscle. But if you watch spinners in women’s cricket they are mostly awful. They don’t look much better to my eye than this 50+ podgy part time offie.

  24. Paul:

    Both the Williams sisters were beaten by Karsten Braach when he was ranked around 200. The difference between players ranked in the 200-500 range isn’t that great. People can jump 100 spots with one good tournament and a lot of players don’t get the chance to push higher because they run out of money and have to retire.

    It’s safe to say that the top 500 men would beat any of the women fairly comfortably. I read an article by one of the coaches at a US tennis factory farm. He said that his junior boys at 15 or 16 were beating his women players who were making it to the main draw Slams.

    Annika Sorenstam (then women’s No 1 golfer) played a men’s tournament and missed the cut, and that was on one of the shortest PGA courses. Michelle Wie tried to qualify for some PGA events and missed the cut each time.

    It’s not sexism. It’s just biology.

    @Dennis the Peasant: I care about pro tennis 🙂

  25. As an add on to this, the comments by Djokovic and Moore are simply true, but the coat tails analogy could equally be applied to both the womens and mens doubles, apart from occasional appearances by the Williams sisters the doubles has been devoid of top players for years.
    Yet they still get the same percentage as before with lower or no interest and players winning who nobody has ever heard of or cares about, wither Hoad and Rosewall…..

  26. What Bloke in Italy said: if they’re all equal, let’s just have one tournament. Sorted. Next?

  27. Cricket is interesting because it is not entirely brute force.

    When I was a kid the best junior player in the local cricket club was a girl, and she captained the team up to under-16 level I think. Then the boys overtook her and she ended up as a bit-player in the second XI.

  28. “It’s safe to say that the top 500 men would beat any of the women fairly comfortably.”

    Probably true, and certainly immaterial. Man #239 v Man #372 in a qualifier is less interesting than watching the top women play for the top titles.

    By the same token, take the world’s top 22 soccerists, divide them into two teams, and see what paying audience you can get. There’s always some niche enthusiasts, but almost none will be the answer.

  29. “why can’t women be spin bowlers, wicket keepers or batsmen in the style of many players (it’s very common in South Asia especially) who rely on timing rather than muscle”

    Because even average men are above the strongest women in power and strength. Thus the best woman would never be able to compete with the top 20% of men for power and strength, even at tasks that don’t predominately require strength. The men who have the fast hands needed for keeping will still be stronger than the best woman, the sort of bowlers who can spin the ball will be able to bowl at a quicker pace while still spinning it than a woman, and the most touch oriented male batsman will still be able to muscle the ball further than the strongest woman can.

  30. But if you watch spinners in women’s cricket they are mostly awful. They don’t look much better to my eye than this 50+ podgy part time offie.

    I think I can throw some light on this as, being of small stature and slightish build myself, I have had experience of the disadvantage of lacking the necessary physical presence to bowl spin, which requires it almost as much as bowling fast. Their hands are too small and weak to get sufficient grip to tweak it and they don’t have the same upper body and shoulder strength. I used to compensate for not being able to spin the ball by giving it plenty of air and going through various pre delivery antics that made it look as though I was a competent spinner who knew what he was doing, which can work surprisingly well at the very low level I played at, it’s no use at higher levels where people are more savvy.

    The women quicks are mostly little more than medium pace pie chuckers as can be seen when the batters try and belt the ball round the park, the ball doesn’t come on to the bat with much force and they lack the strength to compensate for this by giving it a good thump, which makes the short version of the game in particular pretty dull. Women don’t seem to be able to stop the ball in the field so well either, probably small hands again.

  31. I see Jim has already made those points, I think the conclusion is that sport is a form of martial art and women and small blokes are better off not pretending they can compete at the top levels in that.

  32. Well there’s small and small, I suppose I should have said blokes with below average muscle strength for a male, which might include some quite tall chaps but is most likely to correlate with smallness of stature.

  33. I doubt muscle-strength has that much to do with it. You may need a minimum, but increasing it won’t make you a faster bowler for sure.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Jack C – “I doubt muscle-strength has that much to do with it. You may need a minimum, but increasing it won’t make you a faster bowler for sure.”

    The lesson of Tiger Woods is that working out and improving muscle mass helps with every sport. I don’t doubt it would help with cricket too. After all, do you remember those West Indian fast bowlers? Little men they were not. Admittedly much of that probably came from longer legs and arms – much more speed is given to the ball by a large radius in the bowling than the force in the arm. And it is possible too much muscle will slow you down. But on the whole I would think all cricket players are told to work out these days.

    Where women are likely to fail in cricket is in the mental toughness. Much of the game relies on mental strength. The batsman obviously has lost once he becomes rattled. But Shane Warne was such a great spin bowler, even though he is a fat slob, because he was so tough mentally. He never let it get to him. I don’t see any woman being able to do that.

  35. Yes, I do remember those West Indian fast bowlers.

    If extra muscle could increase a bowler’s speed, there would be evidence by now. History says you’re as fast as you’re born to be.

    Cricketers work out to help with running between the wickets, fielding and maybe general stamina. That’s it.

  36. So Much For Subtlety

    Jack C – “If extra muscle could increase a bowler’s speed, there would be evidence by now. History says you’re as fast as you’re born to be. Cricketers work out to help with running between the wickets, fielding and maybe general stamina. That’s it.”

    That is an interesting series of bold statements. Why would you think there would be evidence? Science has only started to make players’ lives miserable in the last 20 years or so. During which the fitness of teams that take the science seriously, like Australia, has improved a lot.

    All the energy in the ball comes from the body of the bowler. That is, in the first place, based on his speed. And yes, exercise can make you run faster. It is also based on the length of his arm – in fact this is likely to dominate. Glen McGrath is 6 ft 5 and Courtney Walsh is half an inch taller. But it must also be related to the speed with which the arm describes that circle and the force put into it.

  37. On mental toughness: women only have to be tough relative to other women.

    Women can’t compete in nearly all sports, but that doesn’t mean that women’s sport has no value. Being the number 1 woman is more of an achievement than being the male number 312.

    Personally, I’d pay the women less at Wimbledon (and elsewhere) because they play less. 3 set matches just don’t have the drama. (But go back for a period before Federer, and men’s tennis at Wimbledon was purest mogadon).

  38. It’s not a bold statement at all.

    The Windies bowling battery of the 70’s and 80’s were noticeable because there were 4 of them in the side all of the time. And they were hostile.

    But none of them was faster than Wes Hall in the 60’s, or Trueman and Tyson in the 50’s, Larwood in the 30’s and so on. Not to mention Lillie and Thompson. Or the several slender and elegantly terrifying Pakistanis of more recent vintage.

    It’s a simple an interesting fact: fast bowlers have not got faster. Just as well probably.

    And it’s not the run-up that produces the speed, though it helps. It’s all in the rhythm and arm-speed and there’s a right, natural run-up for each bowler. A muscle-bound arm may turn over more slowly, not more quickly.

  39. And …

    As for tinkering with bowler’s actions, as MCC decided to do for “performance” and “elf and safety”, let Jimmy Anderson be the salutary lesson.

    Having burst into the Test team at 20, the coaches set to work on him. The new improved Anderson could not bowl, and the new action is the only plausible explanation for the stress fracture of the back that nearly ended his career.

    Salvation came when the coaches reviewed a video of Anderson bowling at 15, and told him just to bowl naturally.

    He’s done alright since.

    (Btw, he wasn’t the only one, and this sort of cretinous vandalism has been banned, binned and got rid of).

  40. Listened to an illuminating discussion on BBC World Service at 2am here in Oz.

    (Female) host and (female) panel including a (female) sports psychologist all agreed that Joko was very much out of order and obviously women tennis players should be paid the same.

    (Male) athlete on the line agreed – of course women tennis players should get the same prize money.

    (Female) athlete coming on the line absolutely shocked them by saying pay should be related to effort, and since women typically play 3 sets and men 5 sets, then it isn’t surprising that women get paid less. Sensible lass and on the right track but still not conceptually right yet.

    The sport psychologist lady blisteringly replied to the above, saying that playing fewer sets was irrelevant and that women have as much dedication as men, train just as hard and try their hardest to win as men.

    Spectacularly missing the point.

    They all missed the point of course, although the athlete lady got closest but still got sidetracked by comparing sets (i.e. an “input”). As our host pointed out in another thread, your share of the value available should be greater the more value you bring/create. The value output in any sport is bums on seats, TV viewers (=dollars) and advertising etc.

    Your gender, how dedicated you are, how hard you train or even how many sets you play, are a mixture of “inputs” and “feels”. All that matters is outputs. If women generated more value, they would be paid more. Since they don’t get paid more than men, I suspect they generate less value.

    It’s actually very analogous to people angry that society doesn’t richly fund their hobby of making dog-turd Christs, or epic feminist poetry (or interepretive dance – insert your fave). The value one can extract from life is broadly determined by what you offer back in value. If you want more you are bludging and/or rent seeking.

    /end rant

  41. I sneeze in threes

    The number of sets played etc is just an extension of the discredited labour theory of value. They pay them less because they can. As Tesco say, “why pay more?”

  42. “But none of them was faster than Wes Hall in the 60’s, or Trueman and Tyson in the 50’s, Larwood in the 30’s and so on. Not to mention Lillie and Thompson. Or the several slender and elegantly terrifying Pakistanis of more recent vintage.

    It’s a simple an interesting fact: fast bowlers have not got faster”

    I disagree. Bowlers have gotten faster, just as 100m sprinters have gotten quicker, and athletic records have increased (or decreased, depending on the event). There’s some very interesting footage taken in Perth in the late 70s, in which Perth University filmed (from memory) Michael Holding, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, Andy Roberts and Imran Kahn (they were probably all in town for a Packer game). Anyway the interesting thing is that they were all (by modern standards) nothing exceptional, except Thommo who despite being not match fit due to injury was faster than the rest by some margin. Even he wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary by modern standards, which only gets ‘quick’ once you pass 145kph (90mph).

    The reason such bowlers in their day were considered quick is that the batsmen of the time couldn’t practise against such bowling in the way they can today. Modern bowling machines allow any professional batsman to sit in a net hitting 90mph bowling all day. And we all know what practise does.

    Thus very few batsmen are beaten purely for pace these days, not in the way batsmen were made to look stupid by Lillee and Thomson in the 70s and the Windies quicks from the late 70s through to the 90s. The best seam bowlers today are the ones who move the ball at speed, not out and out pace merchants. Glenn McGrath was twice the bowler Brett Lee was, despite Lee being over 10mph quicker. Anderson rarely hits 140+ these days, its the movement he gets that gets him wickets.

    Heres the Perth footage:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPDW7hj1yfs

    Thommo was quickest at 147kph, which would still be up there today, but not exceptional. Certainly no-where near the 160kph+ that has been achieved by Shaun Tait and Shoaib Aktar, or the 155kph+ that Mitchell Johnson was hitting in the Ashes series of 2013/14.

  43. or the 155kph+ that Mitchell Johnson was hitting in the Ashes series of 2013/14.

    Did you have to bring that up? 🙁

    Incidentally, when I went to the MCG for the Boxing Day test during that series (and formed part of a world record crowd) I saw Jackson Bird and Dougie Bollinger bowling in the nets outside the ground. The pace was terrifying, the noise the bowler’s body made when it arrived at the crease said it all.

  44. Jim,
    “I disagree. Bowlers have gotten faster, just as 100m sprinters have gotten quicker, and athletic records have increased (or decreased, depending on the event).”

    Sorry, but the facts are against you. Both Andy Roberts and Thompson were recorded at 160 in the 70’s, Trueman was recorded at well over 90mph in his 30’s, etc. Compare and contrast to what’s happened to athletic records.

    Btw, for the Perth footage, given the period and the circumstances, you’d need to allow for what time the bowlers went to bed, what they did when they got there, and whether they were sober.

  45. “The best seam bowlers today are the ones who move the ball at speed, not out and out pace merchants.”

    I agree, but this was ever the case. And modern protection has reduced the intimidatory power of out and out pace as well.

  46. I Sneeze in Threes

    I think your comment supports mine. They pay them less because they can… because they generate less value. If ‘they’ generated or justified more value, then ‘they’ could negotiate it.

  47. I doubt muscle-strength has that much to do with it. You may need a minimum,

    Which is what I was suggesting and there’s no may about it. If women and weaker men haven’t got the minimum strength needed to compete at the higher levels with the men who have then there won’t be any of them at those levels and the women’s game will be slower and less skilled even at their highest level. Seems pretty uncontroversial to me, as well as self evidently so. At least women have their own game, no one is going to fund a weedy men’s Ashes.

  48. “The number of sets played etc is just an extension of the discredited labour theory of value.”

    It’s also irrelevant as the men only play 5 sets in the Grand Slams and a couple of the Masters series events.

    At most ATP events they play best of 3. As noted before, the prize money for these is significantly higher than on the WTA because, well, markets.

    I don’t know much (anything) about cricket but wouldn’t there be an advantage to your fast bowler being stronger? It may lead to fewer injuries or allow him to continue bowling for longer rather than blowing his arm off halfway through an innings.

  49. “Trueman was recorded at well over 90mph in his 30’s”

    You’re kidding right? Trueman was over 90 in his senile dreams maybe, not in reality. Have you never seen footage of him bowling and where the slips and keeper are? He bowled on uncovered wickets against a lot of batsmen (from India/Pakistan/NZ) who were at the time less able Test teams. His record against Australia is by far the highest average of all his vs the other Test nations.

    As for Andy Roberts and Thomson being recorded over 160kph, evidence?

  50. Not sure why Trueman’s average against Australia is relevant, but yes there was a recording made. How accurate, who knows. Those in the know say Tyson was faster (especially in Aus). Besides, Trueman’s main weapon was swing, so bowling full tilt in England would rarely have made sense.

    “As for Andy Roberts and Thomson being recorded over 160kph, evidence?”

    A very quick google.

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