Washington’s ‘difference in tour tier levels’ excuse for lack of women’s coverage is confusing and comparison with Beijing just doesn’t add up.
The ATP event in Washington has been going for some time. In 2012 the tournament decided to add a women’s tournament to the schedule.
The men’s tournament is an ATP 500 event which has a bigger draw and bigger prize money than the women’s international event which is a lower tournament level.
For 2019 the draw and prize money for the singles was;
Men; 64 players & $2,046,340
Women; 32 players & $250,000
Oh, that’s a difference! Over 1.75 million dollars for the men! Ok this is due to the tournament but don’t disrespect the women’s tournament by a lack of main court coverage and there is nothing stopping them than putting in the bare minimum prize money of $250,000 for the women’s draw.
The lack of respect is quite alarming and questions why play the tournaments simultaneously because there is clearly a favourite.
I think a tournament knows it is in the wrong when on their website under the ‘frequently asked questions’ they ‘try’ to justify themselves for lack of main court coverage and well it doesn’t add up.
You can see below what it says on the site.
I find the bit about international TV coverage odd when all singles courts are available on three streaming platforms and how TV requests influence schedule. Let’s be honest, no one was overly interested in Kudla v Paul (both outside top 100) on the centre court when promising American Sofia Kenin was on an outside court? Not buying it.
Another bit interested me at the bottom the comparison to the China Open held in Beijing. The women’s event is a WTA Premier which is higher than ATP 500 which means more prize money for ladies tournament but their main court schedule is much more fairer.
Below I have put together a table of the schedule for the top two courts from Washington last week and the China Open last year and you can see the big difference.
Plain and simple the women’s tournament is disrespected and is pretty much sexist.
More women’s matches could have been on centre courts, why on most weekdays did they not start play until 2pm? Start at 12 and you can fit another in.
I also looked at the website of the venue that hosts the tournament in Washington, Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Oh, it says they are the home of an ATP event but fail to mention they host a WTA event. Can’t tell me they haven’t updated their website in 7 years?
With top American players including Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys leading the line why not put more tennis on the centre stage when it can be done but chosen not to.
The fact that on the main two courts 42 men’s matches took place and 12 ladies matches took place is incredible!
On the main centre court men had 20 matches over the 7 days and the women had 7, tournament size aside that is still pretty awful when another tournament like China Open which is different sizes are more equal.