Australian Open 2012 Proves That Equal Pay Must Mean Equal Play

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 1, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 29:  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus poses with the Daphne Akhurst Trophy after winning the 2012 Women's Australian Open final, along the Yarra River on January 29, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

I am not being sexist—I promise.

This is not just another one of those articles written by another one of those chauvinist guys who thinks that if women aren't running around in tight skirts and grunting in every point, then they don't deserve equality.

Trust me, that's not where I'm coming from and that's not at all what I'm trying to say.

What I am trying to say, however, is that the 2012 Australian Open proves once again that equal pay must mean equal playing time.

Is Victoria Azarenka to blame for the fact that her final was finished faster than one of the sets in the Djokovic-Nadal final? Not in the slightest.

But she shouldn't be allowed to benefit from it either.

Novak Djokovic played a total of 26 sets in the Australian Open. On average his sets went for 48.1 minutes, and he racked up more than 20 hours of playing time during the tournament—over double the playing time than that of his female counterpart.

Throughout the tournament, Azarenka played a total of 16 sets, and chalked up 634 minutes on court; averaging 39.6 minutes per set.

But putting this in context—Azarenka's entire tournament was shorted than Novak Djokovic's semi-final match against Andy Murray and his final against Rafael Nadal.

Now of course we all know that the Djokovic-Nadal final was well-publicized as being the longest final in history—going for just under six hours of play. However, when you compare that to the women's final where Victoria Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova in just under an hour and a half. the gap seems a little more evident.



I understand that neither Djokovic or Azarenka deserves to be penalized for the strength (or lack of strength) of opposition they are up against.

Yet at the end of the day, in the age of equality, men and women should be on an equal playing field in all aspects of life—including the tennis court.

Think about it.

If Azarenka is that dominant over Sharapova, chances are she would take her in a third set if they had to reach three, and not two, to win.

We're not asking her to play five sets every time she plays, and we're not asking women's bodies to be able to be as strong and as fit as that of men—science proves that it's not always possible.

It's simply the truth that equal pay—receiving the same winning cheque for playing significantly less minutes over the span of the tournament—doesn't sound right.

Will it ever be changed? Maybe not, but I'm sure that's what people said about women's rights in the first place.

The world has come such a significant way that it seems only fair that for men and women to compete on the same stage, with the same factors at hand, they should have to achieve the same goal to receive the same prize.

Equal pay must mean equal play.

It's not sexist, and it's not bigotry—it's just common sense prevailing in an age-old debate.


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