Italian Open to award women equal prize money by 2025
"We can make this big leap because the first female CEO of a big bank in Italy has provided us with the necessary resources," said Italian tennis federation president Angelo Binaghi.
ROME: The Italian Open plans to award women the same amount of prize money as men starting in 2025.
When Iga Swiatek won last year's tournament on the red clay of the Foro Italico, she earned less than half of what Novak Djokovic took home for his title.
Swiatek received a check for 332,260 euros (USD 364,000) while Djokovic was paid 836,355 euros (USD 916,000).
Billie Jean King has often said that she was moved to form the women's pro circuit after earning $600 for her 1970 Italian Open title — while Ilie Nastase took home USD 3,500 for winning the men's tournament the same year.
"For the first time in history, we have started the process that over three years will lead to equal prize money between the women's and the men's tournaments," Italian tennis federation president Angelo Binaghi said on Tuesday at the presentation for this season's event, which will be held May 10-21.
"We're talking about 8 million euros (nearly USD 9 million) for each event," Binaghi added. "We can make this big leap because the first female CEO of a big bank in Italy has provided us with the necessary resources."
Elena Goitini is the chief executive of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the Italian Open's main sponsor.
Having received an upgrade in status by the ATP and WTA, the Italian Open is expanding from eight to 12 days this year and will feature 96-player draws for men and women — up from the previous status of 56 players in each event.
"With WTA's continued efforts to achieve equal prize money at all events, we are excited for the commitment that has been made by the Rome event to ensure this is in place by 2025," the WTA Tour told The Associated Press. "It is our hope to see this commitment achieved at more WTA events."
The Grand Slam tournaments offer equal prize money. The women's tour sets a minimum prize money level for all of its events and said equal prize money "requires a commitment to incremental investment by the events, which Rome has now committed to."
"We appreciate the unwavering commitment from the events who currently are paying equal prize money and again the commitment being made by Rome to make sure this is in place by 2025."