The legendary player fought for equality long before any current players were born. She talked a long time ago about the pay gap, prompting the US Open to agree to pay out equal prize money for both men and women.
It was an unprecedented move that is yet to catch up at many events, with some Grand Slam joining the party decades after that. It's been 50 years since that happened for the first time, and the event is marking that.
It's not just the event, as one of the American WTA players, Jessica Pegula, even has an outfit designed to commemorate that. On the other hand, as one of the leading players of this generation, Gauff was asked about the significance of that ahead of the 2023 US Open.
Yeah, I mean, I think for the US Open, 50th anniversary, they're having the gala tonight, I'm going. I'm really happy to be a part of that. Yeah, there's obviously a lot of inequities on prize money, more on the 1000, 500, and 250 level. They have a plan in place, from what I'm told, like a 10-year plan, to kind of improve that situation.
Like many of her contemporaries, Gauff wants to see improvement across the board. She pointed out that it's not always true that men's matches garner more interest as she deems both the ATP and WTA equally appealing, especially regarding more significant events.
Recently, the 19-year-old talked about bringing 'as many crowds as men', despite then also joking a few days later that her match was 'an opening act' before 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic stepped onto the court.
I definitely think a lot of it needs to be improved, especially in these events. I mean, at least when I really paid attention this summer, just the crowd at the 500 and 1000 events that I've played, where it was combined. I will say, at least my matches were pretty much more crowded or the same crowded as some of the top seeds on the men's side.
I don't think it's an attraction issue. Obviously in some tournaments, yes, but especially in like the 1000 events, I don't think it's necessarily an attraction issue. I think we have a long ways to go, but I am proud to say that where we are now, especially in the Grand Slams.
It's an uphill battle for women in tennis, but they're determined to ride it out. More and more are speaking up, and it's having an effect. It's a slow process, but sooner or later, it will happen. The WTA recently revealed the pathway to achieving equal prize money by 2027, and that should certainly help the progress.