Since Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, What's Gone Wrong?

binks mCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2009

A few years back, all four of the grand slams adopted the policy of equal prize money for both the men's and women's champions. The arguments in favour of this move were very persuasive. After all, it's not like the women of the game worked any less than their male counterparts, right?

The same pay for the same amount of work.

While this argument may have been more valid in the Graf-Seles-Sanchez-Vicario era, or the Navratilova-Evert era, when the women were getting a lesser pay cheque than the men, it seems like quite a laughable proposition now.

Serena Williams got the same $2 million that Nadal did. Comparing the amount of effort put into each match, the first set between Roger and Rafa lasted just one minute less than the 59 minutes it took Serena to pulverise Safina.

No disrespect to Serena, she played super tennis. Her opponent just could not make a match out of it. Safina's game was loaded with errors and she could do little but watch the balls just fly past her.

It seemed quite ludicrous that Safina got the same $1.2 million that Roger Federer got for being the runner-up.

Yes, they both came out second-best in their respective matchups. However, Federer fought tooth-and-nail through most of the match, while Safina barely managed to get on the score board.

While it can be said, at times, that the scores do not truly reflect the quality of tennis in the match, that is not the case here. Federer and Nadal enthralled the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena with another edition of their storied rivalry.

They produced tennis of the very highest quality—one mind-boggling shot after the other. In comparison, the women's final matchup was nothing short of totally disappointing.

Serena barely had to break a sweat. It was almost over before it began. It's no wonder that there were so many empty seats in the higher stands at Rod Laver that night.

Serena William's lopsided victory in the finals, and her relatively trouble-free run throughout the tournament, has exposed a very big, gaping hole in the women's game.

After Henin's unexpected retirement in 2008, and the absence of Maria Sharapova from this year's tournament due to a nagging shoulder injury, it seems that there are few women who actually do have the depth and mental toughness to make any kind of lasting impression at the big tournaments.

Consider that, while Safina's display of tennis in the finals was almost pitiful, it must be noted that she made it to the finals—without playing spectacular tennis. That clearly does not speak well for the rest of the competition.

Aside from Serena's awesome display throughout the tournament, the only other story from the women's side that made any impression at all was Docik's brilliant comeback and her fantastic run to the quarterfinals.

Following her victory in the finals, Serena now has taken her Grand Slam tally to 10, becoming only the seventh woman to win at least 10 Grand Slam singles titles.

In doing so, she has also reclaimed the No. 1 spot from Jelena Jankovic, who continues to struggle to win her first singles title.

The question begging to be asked is: Where exactly does this leave women's tennis?