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Wimbledon Money Decision Gets Mixed Reaction
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Wimbledon's decision to award equal prize-money to men and women at this year's Championships met with mixed reaction from leading players on Thursday.

The All England Club broke with tradition to join the US and Australian Opens in paying equal prize money across the board in all events and at all stages of competition.

Venus Williams, one of the leading campaigners for the move said Wimbledon had done the right thing, describing it as "a wonderful day".

"I just feel that in the modern world with the modern thoughts, we all understand that everyone's equal," the American former world No 1 told reporters after her 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final win over fellow American Laura Granville at the Memphis International.

"So if someone else doesn't choose to live in the modern world and do the right thing, then thank God that the majority of people in the All England Club do."

Germany's Tommy Haas, however, said the decision was unfair. "I don't think it's really fair," the world No 9 said after his 7-6, 7-6 second-round win over American Amer Delic, which moved him closer to the $128,000 first prize (compared with the women's winner, who will receive $28,000).

"I think the depth of men's tennis is much tougher than the women's, plus we play best of five sets."

Haas said men had to be in top physical condition to succeed at the grasscourt grand slam.

"You might think it's not as brutal but you have to be in unbelievable shape on grass, even if the ball stays low and the points are shorter," the German said.

"Not to say that the women don't deserve it. The top players train very hard and are very good tennis players but in general I don't agree with it."

Correct move

Briton Andy Murray, who joined Haas in the last eight with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Dane Kristian Pless, believes it was the correct move.

"I think it's obviously great for women's tennis," Murray said.

"It's probably the only sport in the world where women are making the same money as men. That can really only be a good thing.

"Guys are obviously going to be annoyed if you go and play a five-hour match and then the women play a 45-minute match and they are getting the same money.

"But that's not really the point. Bar some of the top females, a lot of the guys get very good sponsorships. In the smaller tournaments, there's more money on the men's side, so apart from the grand slams, I think there are more tournaments on the men's tour as well."

"It would be the only sport in the world like this, and will maybe make tennis appeal to more fans, so for the four biggest tournaments in the year I guess it's a good thing."

(China Daily via Agencies February 25, 2007)

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