Under the WTA's new proposal, female players will receive equal prize money at WTA 1000 and 500 combined events by 2027. However, to make the gradual introduction of equal winnings sustainable, one-week WTA 1000 and 500 competitions won't have equal prize money until 2033.
Moreover, the women's annual schedule will include two new WTA 1000 events in Doha and Dubai, while larger draw sizes will be introduced to Madrid and Beijing next season and Cincinnati and Toronto/Montreal in 2025.
Billie Jean King started the quest towards equality between women's and men's tennis 50 years ago and she told the WTA website that the latest improvements have the potential to influence women's sport beyond tennis.
"Fifty years after the players found strength in unity, I’m proud the WTA continues to be a global leader focused on providing opportunities, and hope that women in other sports and walks of life are inspired by its example,”
The issue of equal prize money has been a long-standing issue in professional tennis. This season, key players including Ons Jabuer, Paula Badosa and world number one Iga Swiatek have raised their opposition against the disparity in prize money between male and female players.
However, the introduction of the pathway towards equality released by the WTA could be the first big step towards a level playing field in women's tennis. Sloane Stephens, who is a WTA Player and Players’ Council Member, believes that this latest pathway will provide better playing conditions for younger players coming through.
“Every generation contributes to preserving the future of their sport, striving to leave it in a better state for the next. I take pride in being a part of this evolution and fully support the WTA's commitment to progress.”