Is There Really Pay Equity at the US Open Tennis Tournament?

Imagine if you and others in your group are paid a flat rate, and the members of a different group are paid the same flat rate. The employer proclaims it is equal pay.

But wait a minute! Your group works a 5-hour shift while the other group works a 3-hour shift for the same pay. Your group would be working 40% more for the same pay as the other group.

Is this equal pay?

I doubt few people would consider that they were being paid equally if this were the case they found themselves in.

In an interview on TSN, after her straight set victory over Czech player Markéta Vondroušová, the American player Madison Keys said, “Luckily for us [women], I don’t play 5 sets.” This she said noting the longer duration that male players currently endure in hot, humid, energy-sapping conditions on court compared to the women.

Novak Djokovic cools down with ice bag around neck between games. Image: Express.

The current edition of the US Open Tennis Championships being held in New York is proudly celebrating what it proclaims is “50 years equal pay.”

It is big money, especially if you are the male or female singles champion with a take-home prize of $3 million.

However, while the women play a best of 3 sets, the men play a best of 5 sets. If all matches are played for the full number of sets, then the men play 40% more sets than the women — for the same pay.

Is this equal pay?

It seems clear that if the tennis grand slams, 4 premiere tennis tournaments that claim pay equity for female and male competitors, honestly want to claim pay equity, then there are two simple options that would bring about honest pay equity: 1) have both men and women play best of five sets or 2) have both men and women play best of three sets.

Doesn’t equity mean equal pay for equal work?

Anarchist economists would posit that genuine equity would be equal remuneration for equal effort and sacrifice. This would be regardless of gender or group affiliation.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.