Thirteenth-seeded French tennis player Gilles Simon decided to stir up the controversy bowl this week at Wimbledon when he said that men’s tennis is “more attractive” to watch and that men play more sets, bring in more money and therefore should be paid more. Wimbledon top seed, the highest paid female athlete and all-around extremely hot lady Maria Sharapova rallied back with the fact that a heck of a hot more people watch her matches than his. Serena Williams chimed in that it was partly because Maria is way hotter or more attractive than Gilles. I’m not usually one to support people touting their hotness as means for getting paid more but in this case I say go for it Maria. Also, didn’t we prove that women were just as interesting to watch as me nin tennis about thirty years ago with Billie Jean King in the legendary Battle of the Sexes?
After Simon’s comments Maria told reporters, “No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else I’m sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his. Serena Williams, who moved into the third round today along with Maria, said, “She’s way hotter than he is. Women’s tennis I think is really awesome. It’s a great fight. We fought for years with Billie Jean King, and Venus as well, really set the pattern on what we should do.”
Simon, who’s never got past the quarterfinals of a major, earlier today lost his second-round match to Belgium’s Xavier Malisse in straight sets on Court 3. In his press conference afterwards, the Frenchman stood by his comments. “My point was that I have the feeling that men’s tennis is actually more interesting than women’s tennis,” Simon said. He said market and media forces bore this out, with more expensive tickets for men’s matches and more media coverage. Away from the majors, women’s prize money is also lower. He said it is not the duration of matches that matters but the entertainment value. “Just check the price of the ticket from the men’s final and the woman’s final for example,” the No. 13 seed said. “That’s the way it works in life and everything.” Oh, this is great. He said his opinion was shared by most male players. “It’s not only my point of view, it’s the point of view of everybody in the locker room, even for you, the media,” Simon added. This is pretty much a grown-up version of being a sore loser. He just decided to pick on an entire gender instead of the guy who beat him (except he managed to align all men in tennis with his sexist mindset in one swift move.)
His opinion really shouldn’t matter and this guy clearly just wants to get press attention as his tennis career is struggling. Yes, the men do play longer (Men play best-of-five sets in the four Grand Slam tournaments, while women play best-of-three) but to say that they should be paid more than their female colleagues is unfair. Is this guy French or from 1942? “That’s the way it works in life and everything.” What is he going to say next? Women shouldn’t have the right to vote either? Sports, especially tennis, are one of the only industries where women can make more money than men based, somewhat, on sheer talent and performance. Can this guy really justify that he should be paid more than Maria Sharapova who has annual earnings of $26 million?
“Tennis, including the Grand Slams, is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality,” Stacey Allaster, chief executive officer and chairman of the women’s WTA tour, said in an e-mailed statement. “I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise. This type of thinking is exactly why the WTA was founded and we will always fight for what’s right.”