"The disparity is insane": Maria Sharapova calls out gender pay gap between ATP Shanghai Masters and WTA Zhengzhou Open

Maria Sharapova has added her voice to those calling out the gender pay gap in the sport, using the example of the prize money on offer at the ATP Shanghai Masters compared to the winner's cheque at the WTA Zhengzhou Open.

The five-time Grand Slam champion, who retired in 2020, recently took part in the Bloomberg Screentime conference with Jason Kelly, where she discussed her own career journey and various aspects of tennis as a whole, particularly the sport's financial situation.

Unequal prize money has been an issue on the WTA Tour for a long time. Although each of the Grand Slams has offered equal amounts to players since 2007, WTA tournaments almost always offer significantly less than those on the ATP Tour.

Sharapova highlights stark earnings contrast

"Just this week, there’s a men’s tournament actually still happening in Shanghai with the Winner’s prize check of $1.2 million. In the same week, there’s a women’s tournament in China with the Winner’s check at $120,000," Sharapova said in her conversation with Kelly.

The 36-year-old went on to add that the equal prize money on offer at Grand Slams should not mask the fact that the gender pay gap remains an extremely prevalent problem on the WTA circuit.

"I don't know if anyone's familiar with those numbers but you go to a Grand Slam and we are celebrating equal prize money. Great. Those are the biggest events with the biggest attention, media, and the buzz.

"But then the rest of the tour which is the eight or nine other months is there. The disparity is insane and that needs to be addressed," she continued.

Recently, the WTA pledged to reach equal pay at 1000 and 500 combined events on the Tour by 2027 and at non-combined events, such as single-week 1000 and 500 tournaments, by 2033.

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