The world No 3, Karolina Pliskova, has called male tennis players who complain about women claiming equal prize money “super weak”. The Czech player, who returns to action in the newly created LiveScore Cup in Prague next week, insists she does not crave equal pay but is not happy about men who speak out against it.
It is an issue that is sure to raise its head over the coming months following recent calls for a merger between the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours – something Pliskova supports. There is currently equal pay at the four grand slams but a big disparity during the rest of the year.
Asked whether a possible merger between the two tours should bring equal pay, Pliskova told the PA news agency: “I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us. I don’t see the reason why we should compare each other. I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV, that should be possible with these changes.”
Pliskova, who reached the US Open final in 2016, is among a growing number of players – from both tours – who would support the merger. She added: “I think for the women’s tour it can only help. I don’t know exactly what they are discussing but if there is any chance to say yes, then I would say yes.
“It needs to be positive also for the ATP so they need to find a balance so it is a forward step for both. It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”
Pliskova has not played since the Qatar Open in February because of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the WTA Tour and there will be no resumption before the end of July. But the 28-year-old, who says she would be happy to travel to America for the scheduled hard-court swing in August, is primed to return to action in the LiveScore Cup.
Pliskova will be joined by her twin sister, Kristyna, Marketa Vondrousova, Karolina Muchova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Barbora Strycova for a behind-closed-doors round-robin tournament in Prague. “I am excited, it has been a long time, I am missing the matches, I have been playing with guys and coaches so I am looking forward to playing with girls,” she said.