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The week in tennis – Unequal pay and stunning upsets at the Italian Open

The week in tennis - Unequal pay and stunning upsets at the Italian Open

Despite some shocking upsets and rain that wreaked havoc on the schedule, one issue dominated the conversation during the first several days of the Italian Open: the pay disparity between the men and women.

While some tournaments on tour offer equal prize money, Rome currently does not. It’s not even close — the men’s champion will receive $1.2 million and the women’s champion will earn $567,215. The total purse for all male participants is $8.3 million, compared to $3.88 million for the women.

The tournament recently announced it would be offering equal prize money in 2025, but many of the players have questioned the delay.

“I don’t see why we have to wait,” Ons Jabeur, the world No. 7, told The New York Times. “It’s really frustrating. It’s time for change. It’s time for the tournament to do better.”

The Italian Open is a mandatory 1000-level event for both the ATP and the WTA, and both singles draws included 96 players at the start and feature best-of-three set matches.

“I don’t know why it’s not equal right now,” Paula Badosa, currently ranked No. 35, also told The New York Times. “They don’t inform us. They say this is what you get and you have to play.”

The four major tournaments do offer equal prize money, but many of the other 1000-level events, including the US Open summer hard-court series events in Cincinnati and Canada, do not. With those tournaments coming up, combined with the complaints of gender inequality that came out of the Madrid Open earlier this month, it seems likely this necessary conversation will continue.

In the meantime, here’s what else you might have missed from the ongoing Italian Open and around the tennis world:

Upset city

The Italian Open is far from over, but the tournament has already seen some unexpected results. Just ask soon-to-be world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. After reclaiming his top spot in next week’s rankings with a round of 64 victory, Alcaraz was handed his first loss since March by Fabian Marozsan — a qualifier ranked No. 135 — on Monday.

Playing in the first ATP main draw event of his career, Marozsan needed just one hour and 40 minutes for the 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory and became the lowest-ranked player in history to defeat an ATP top-two player at a Masters 1000-level event on clay. He later told the crowd he “couldn’t imagine this” result, but his calm and composed reaction immediately after the match looked as if he was more than ready for the moment. He will next play Borna Coric with a…

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