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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Tennis

Sania Mirza brings about monetary equality of the sexes
Sharmistha Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 13, 2012
First Published: 20:24 IST(13/10/2012)
Last Updated: 23:16 IST(13/10/2012)

It was Billie Jean King's campaign for equality in the 1970s which benefited women tennis players.

Still, for a long time, women were offered equal prize money in only two of the Grand Slams.

However, since Wimbledon - the last Slam to change their policy in 2007 - also came on board, the equal prize money debate has given rise to various controversies, the latest being France's Gilles Simon criticising the decision.

Back home, the senior hardcourt nationals, now renamed the Fenesta Open, had pretty much gone per tradition over the years, though the organisers had brought up this topic during their meeting a month ago.

However, Sania Mirza put an end to the dithering on Saturday afternoon.

Invited as chief guest at the tournament where she played as a junior, Sania asked, "why the differential treatment?"

And hey presto, the decision to distribute equal prize money immediately came into effect.

Thus, the women's singles winner Prerna Bhambri got Rs. 1.5 lakh, Rs. 50,000 more than the initial promised sum.

Finalist Rishika Sunkara took home Rs. 35,000 more against the initial sum of Rs. 65,000.

"It's wonderful to see that the organisers accepted my suggestion and acted upon it so quickly," Sania said. While India's women players can thank one of their own for bringing about an abrupt turnaround, the debate is by no means over globally.

Simon, a member of the ATP Tour council, recently claimed men attract more fans and spend more time on court.

However, compatriot Marion Bartoli, the first woman to receive equal prize money at Wimbledon as runner-up in 2007, retorted saying women in no way lagged behind men in their effort.


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