The subject of equal pay in tennis was very much in the headlines early in 2016 thanks to the much criticized comments of former pro Ray Moore.
Now, as the year concludes, Serena Williams has slammed inequality and taken issue with the fact that she is often described as one of the best female athletes — instead of simply one of the best athletes around.
The record 22-time grand slam singles champion made her declarations in an open letter published in Porter magazine’s “Incredible Women of 2016” issue.
Earlier this year, Moore — the tournament director of tennis’ most prestigious event outside the majors, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California — said women’s players should get “down every night” on their knees and thank Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for carrying the sport.
Williams was one of those who criticized Moore, with the 70-year-old resigning days later.
“I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it,” Williams wrote in the letter, most of which was republished on the WTA’s website. “I learned not to be afraid. I learned how important it is to fight for a dream and, most importantly, to dream big. My fight began when I was three and I haven’t taken a break since.
“But as we know, too often women are not supported enough or are discouraged from choosing their path. I hope together we can change that. For me, it was a question of resilience. What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself — my race, my gender — I embraced as fuel for my success. I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.
“So when the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you.”