The Italian Open is planning to award women the same amount of the money as their men counterparts from 2025. Taking a big step towards gender equality in the elite tournament, the Italian Tennis Federation feels it would motivate other tournament directors to enforce equal pay in the WTA and ATP tournaments.
Though the Grand Slams have adapted to this change, lower-level tournaments are yet to make this change. In a presentation ahead of this season’s event, Angelo Binaghi, President of the Italian Tennis Federation said, "For the first time in history, we have started the process that over three years will lead to equal prize money between the women's and the men's tournaments."
“We’re talking about 8 million euros (nearly USD 9 million) for each event,” he further added.
It is to be noted that t he issue of unequal pay was highlighted by a broadcaster Catherine Whitaker a week prior to the Italian Open last year. Not only this, Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek, who then won the Italian Open 2022, was awarded with less than half of what Novak Djokovic had won after lifting the title.
She received a check for 3,32,360 Euros while Djokovic received 8,36,355 Euros. Billie Jean, former American tennis star, had also said that she had received $600 for her 1970 Open title, whereas Ilie Nastase received $3,500 for winning the men’s tournament the same year.
The Italian Open has received a status upgrade by the ATP and WTA, and hence, is expanding from 8 days to 12-day tournament this year. The tournament will feature 96-player draws for men and women, which used to be 56 earlier.