World No3 Karolina Pliskova has called male tennis players who complain about women claiming equal prize money “super weak”.
The Czech player, who returns to action in the newly-created LiveScore Cup in Prague next week, says she does not crave equal pay but is not happy about men who speak out against it.
The issue is likely to resurface over the coming months given recent calls to merge the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours. There is currently equal pay at the four grand slams but a disparity remains during the rest of the year.
Asked if a possible merger between the two tours should bring equal pay, Pliskova said: “I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us. I don’t see the reason why we should compare each other. I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV - that should be possible with these changes.”
Pliskova, who reached the US Open final in 2016, is one of a growing number of players from both tours who have said that they would support the merger. She added: “I think for the women’s tour it can only help. I don’t know exactly what they are discussing but if there is any chance to say yes, then I would say yes.
“It needs to be positive also for the ATP. They need to find a balance so it is a forward step for both. It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”