In the wake of his election to the ATP Player’s Council, French player Gilles Simon has disclosed that he is opposed to the prize money equality that is set for men’s and women’s events.
His reasoning for this includes the atmosphere of play on the men’s tour and how much longer the men spend on court especially when it comes to the best of five sets format featured at the Grand Slams. Simon was also disappointed by the decision to make the Rome tournament a joint event with the women players, complaining that the practice courts at joint events aren’t as obtainable as in separate events.
A few prominent women players had this to say about Simon’s demeanor and words toward the WTA Tour.
“He hit me with a ball when I was ball kid for the first time. He hit me right in my chest because he lost a point and set he turned around and slammed the ball and it hit me,” US up-and-comer Sloane Stephens told a small group of U.S. reporters. “Whatever he says, that means nothing to me. We had discussion about it on the court last year because he was trying to kick me off the practice court in Estoril and I’m like dude you don’t have this court. His coach was nice and he asked me, ‘Why don’t you like him?’ and I said because when I was 10 he hit me with the ball and he didn’t even say sorry and kind of walked off. So I was like, ‘I don’t like him.”
“I think people come out and watch us play because they want to watch us play. I think there are a bunch of men’s matches that go five that are pretty boring to watch, as well. It’s not like a best-of-five match is better than a best-of-three.” - Samantha Stosur.
When told about Simon’s comments towards the number of free practice courts, fellow French player Marion Bartoli had this to say: “He needs to get up earlier.”
This stance may possibly endanger his position in the Player’s Council as well as the kind of support he’ll get throughout the tournament in Wimbledon, but Simon doesn’t care if he offends anyone with his demeaning comments and on a last note he had this to say: “Am I going to incur the wrath of feminist organizations? I don’t care.”