Miami - Women athletes who sacrifice having
children and raising families during the peak years of their playing careers
should earn what men do, says two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The 30-year-old Russian weighed in
Wednesday on the gender pay equity issue raised last week when the former
Indian Wells tournament director and top-ranked Novak Djokovic made comments
knocking level prize money for men and women at tennis events.
It came on the same day the US women's
national football team, reigning Women's World Cup and three-time defending
Olympic champions, went to the government to seek equal pay to their male
Kuznetsova, who advanced to the ATP and WTA
Miami Open final on Thursday by downing Swiss 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky, says
men can have children and start families in their 20s without surrendering a
year or more of their careers.
"Some of the men say we shouldn't get
the same prize money. The guys that travel on the road, they say they give more
than we do. But they can have kids. They can have a family, right? We
cannot," Kuznetsova said.
"I play since I am 14. Since 16, I am
professional. I was playing eight months a year every year. I didn't have
anything. I gave up everything. Friends. Home.
"I think we do deserve (equal pay). We
give more than 100 percent. We give our life. I think we're owed that."
British world number two Andy Murray, 28,
became a father in February, his wife Kim giving birth to daughter Sophia.
And 28-year-old Djokovic, who walked back
his comments to support equal pay in Miami, became a father in October 2014
when son Stefan was born.
Roger Federer, 34, has a record 17 Grand
Slam titles and four children, two sets of twins, one born in 2014 and the
other in 2009, a year when he won two Grand Slam titles and was twice a Slam
"Many guys say, 'We've got to earn
more than women,'" Kuznetsova said. "We're not taking their money. We
just want to earn the same.
"I'm just saying in some part we give
more than they do. Yeah, they play more matches. They are physically stronger,
which men are, which is normal. But we give up much more personal space being
on the tour, not being able to have a normal decent family.
"That's why we're equal. I think it's
Kuznetsova also notes the expensive nature
of the tour life, paying for personal coaches and trainers in order to maximize
potential and extend careers.
"Nobody ever counts what expenses
players pay," she said. "You can only afford a team like good fitness
coach and physio. Pay a few traveling, rooms, it will cost you a lot. You can
only be top 10 to pay that.
"I'm an investment. And it's huge
pressure. After you do not do so well, you cannot cover your own team."
Scores on Thursday from the 10th day of the ATP and WTA Miami Open (x denotes seeded player):
Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x16) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS x24) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x12) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x15) bt Timea Bacsinszky (SUI x19) 7-5, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x13) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x2) 6-2, 7-5