I've been watching the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and once again, I am dumbfounded that the women get the same amount of prize money as the men in the Grand Slam events. There have been some fantastic men's matches, including every match that James Blake played (esp. w/Fabrice Santoro, amazing stuff!). Sadly, Blake lost today to the German Tommy Haas, in a five-set match that went into a tiebreak in the fifth set. Edge of the seat game and top-flight tennis. Roger Federer versus 6'9" American John Isner was also a hugely entertaining match. Many of the men's matches have gone to five sets (men play best of five), and many sets have gone to tiebreak ("extra" play if the set ends in a tie).
On the other hand, most of the women's matches so far have been almost unwatchable. They're simply not competitive. Most have been blow-outs and are over in about an hour. The men, meanwhile, play dramatic matches that go on for three and four hours. The women mostly whale away from the baseline (outside edge of the court), and one player either hits it long or dumps it into the net. There are far more errors than winning shots in most women's games. The men display far more versatility in their game, generally going to the net more, you see more slice backhands and lobs, they hit the overheads, sometimes after jumping up in the air and spinning around. Much of the women's play, in comparison, is plodding and predictable. Thank goodness the women's matches don't go five sets! It would be torturous to sit through. So how the heck did the women's prize money ever get to be the same as the men's? I understand that in the bad old days, women were grossly underpaid, but now they look overpaid to me. It's bizarre that both the top man and women get $1.4 million for the U.S. Open, when the first place man (obviously and literally) has to work two to three times as hard as the first place woman. Score a big one for the feministas. The women do draw crowds, but not as big as for the men's matches. Obviously TV advertising revenue is less for shorter matches. So how did the feministas pull that one off?
That said, there's a women's quarterfinals coming up that promises to be quite good: Justin Henin plays Serena Williams on Tuesday evening. The quarterfinals and semis are usually competitive.