German tennis player Andrea Petkovic says despite the strides tennis has taken in professionalising the women’s game, the sport still reeks of sexism.
“After games, women always get irritating messages and comments on social media,” Petkovic said during an interview with sports publication Sportschau.
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“I doubt it is the same on the men’s tour. Our outfits are always discussed there, how we wear our hair.
“In the past, women mostly had to play on the smaller courts. That still happens today. When it rained for two days at the French Open two years ago, the women’s semifinals were played on the smaller courts, while the men played on the larger courts.
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That latent sexism still comes out of that. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”
The 34-year-old, who reached a career high of 9 in 2011, is competing in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals this weekend. The women’s tennis team competition, which was earlier called the Fed Cup, was named after the legendary tennis player this year.
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Billie Jean King was one of the ‘Original Nine’, who saw the establishment of the Women’s Tennis Association almost 50 years ago.
“She is someone I owe everything to,” Petkovic said of King.
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“Without them (the Original Nine) there would be no professional women’s sport as it exists today. And all because of their assertiveness and the willingness to take risks.”
Though all the four Grand Slams now pay equal prize money to men and women, there is still a disparity in player fees on the tour.
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While 451 female players have earned at least $1M in prize money since the creation of the WTA Tour, 703 players have reached the milestone in that duration.