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Rafael Nadal says women tennis players shouldn't be paid equally if TV ratings aren't equal
Rafael Nadal made headlines this week for winning his 11th French Open and 17th Grand Slam title with maybe the most dominant Roland-Garros performance of his world-renowned tennis career.
Now, the Spanish "King of Clay" is making headlines for his thoughts on the disparity between male and female earnings in the sport.
As told to an Italian magazine, shared on social media and then noted by Yahoo! Sports' Ben Rohrbach, Nadal threw cold water on the idea that women should earn as much as men in tennis, saying "it's a comparison we shouldn't even make."
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"Female models earn more than male models, and nobody says anything," he was quoted as saying in the magazine. "Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis, too, who gathers a larger audience earns more."
This comes about a week after not a single woman appeared on Forbes' 2018 list of top 100 highest-paid athletes. And while Rohrbach notes that men's Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour events have generally "generated significantly larger audiences and more revenue than the women's WTA Tour," women's finals featuring Venus and Serena Williams consistently drew more TV viewers than men's tennis from 2010-2014.
The Williams sisters are among those who have campaigned for equal pay in tennis, echoing calls by 39-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King for less compensation disparity among genders. Others, like former men's world No. 1 player Novak Djokovic, have shared sentiments similar to that of Nadal, suggesting that whomever draws more viewers -- whether men or women -- should be paid accordingly.