Naomi Osaka hit back at Stefanos Tsitsipas comment that women should play five sets and defended equal pay at Grand Slams.
Tennis is one of the few sports where male and female athletes get equal pay.
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During the Miami Open, Tsitsipas reopened the debate of equal workload for equal pay. Women play best-of-three sets matches at the majors while men play best-of-five.
“I don’t want to be controversial or anything,” the Greek said.
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“There is also the topic of equal pay and everything, women getting equal pay for playing best-of-three, then getting equal pay for playing best-of-five.
“I don’t know. There are also a lot of scientists and statisticians, whatever, out there. I’ve been told that women have better endurance than men. I don’t know.
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“Maybe they can also play best-of-five, I guess. For Grand Slams, best-of-five, I like it. On the other side, on the other hand, we would have seen much more variety when it comes to different Grand Slam winners if it was best-of-three.
“I very much believe that the winners of Grand Slams would be very different if the format was best-of-three in men.”
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Former World No 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion laughed it off initially.
“Does he want to play nine sets? If he tries to extend mine, I’m going to extend his,” she joked before delving deeper into the subject.
“This guy is so funny, man,” Osaka said.
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“I don’t know. I feel like that would change the structure of tennis. Like people will start doing things differently in the gym and stuff like that.
“It will probably also take a very long time to be implemented, but also, a man is talking about a women’s sport, so I don’t think his idea is going to go through.
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“I don’t want to be rude. I’m really trying to structure this in a way that’s not like off-putting, but I think it’s like decades of hard work.
“Up until now, women have been putting in the work. It’s not just like, oh, it’s come out of nowhere that you get paid the same.
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“The history of the WTA has been leading them into advocating for equal pay with Billie Jean King, Venus [Williams], Serena [Williams] all that.
“I also think ticket sales are important. I think the WTA has really good up-and-comers, the No 1 player in the world, Iga [Swiatek], is like 20 right? I don’t know. It’s who people find interesting. Coco [Gauff] is amazing as well.
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“For me, I feel like the revenue that you generate, like ticket sales, is very important, and I think the WTA is doing a really good job at that.”
Osaka entered the quarterfinal of Miami Open on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over USA’s Alison Riske.