The Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the biggest tennis tournament in Italy, is on a steady route to provide women with equal prize money to their male colleagues by year 2025, Italian tennis federation president Angelo Binaghi said at the presentation for this season’s Rome event.
“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,” said Binaghi on Tuesday. As he explained, the reason for this improvement are additional resources provided by Elena Goitini, the chief executive of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the Italian Open’s main sponsor: “We can make this big leap because the first female CEO of a big bank in Italy has provided us with the necessary resources.”
Last year’s champion on the women’s side, Iga Swiatek, received less than half prize money than Novak Djokovic, the 2022 Rome champion on the ATP Tour. Swiatek’s check amounted to €332,260 ($364,000), while Djokovic received €836,355 ($916,000).
The Italian Open was one of tournaments that inspired Billie Jean King to fight for equal pay. When she won the title in 1970, her prize was $600. Ilia Nastase, her male counterpart, received almost six times more, $3500. “Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs, and I want women to have the cake, the icing and the cherry on top too,” said King at the 2016 Miami Open tennis tournament.
Fifty years ago, the US Open became the first sporting event in history to offer equal prize money for men and women competitors, and this anniversary will be the central theme of the 2023 US Open. A lot has been achieved by the WTA and tennis has the lowest gender pay gap in sports, but the battle is not over yet.