A Poor Lob For Gender Pay Equality


A lob is a tennis term for a ball hit high in the air, often done as a defensive maneuver, to allow the player to move to a better position while forcing the opposing player into a weak position.

Recent issues in the Tennis world erupted when Raymond Moore, the tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open, stated that he felt that female tennis players were lucky and owed their status as players to men.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”

Is this a fair statement? It certainly sounds sexist. It implies that the talent of women are nothing compared that of men, and their only value as women is in part thanks to men. Certainly sounds like that. While I wouldn’t have said something like that, especially being in control of an event that has women playing, he seems to suggest that Federer and Nadal are two big names that make the sport of Tennis today, and women should thank them for the privilege of being able to play Professional Tennis (as oppose to getting a real job). I would argue at that point, that men and women as a whole in Tennis today should be thanking them, not just women.

Serena Williams was none too pleased by this. Actually, most people in the profession have come out against Raymond Moore for his comments. Honestly, Raymond Moore is a moron if he thought there would have been no backlash to the statements he made, especially in this PC world culture that we live in. In all of this though, came the issue of wage gap and the idea that men are paid more than women for doing the same work. In the Western & Southern Open in August, Federer won $731,000 while Williams won $495,000. Looking just at those two numbers, it certainly supports the issue of wage gap in professional tennis.

However, like the myth of the employment wage gap, if we only look at what was earned and not the context in how it was earned, then we can make the data say what we want it to say. The first thing to note, is that the Male and Female players were not part of the same tournament. I’m not saying that as, men and women don’t compete against each other, but they were two different tournaments all together. The men were competing in ATP World Tour Masters 1000, which is a series of 9 tournaments. The women were competing in WTA Premier 5, which is 5 events, but part of the Premier series which totals 21 events. Two different tournaments: one for men, other for women. Yet, Feminists forget this detail and instead focus on just how much was earned that day.

So, in honor of the recent Equal Pay Day, I decided to do what lazy Feminists are unable to do: crunch the numbers. I looked at the top 10 Male and Female Tennis stars for 2016 and compared how their pay was with each other, to see if there was an actual pay gap. But more than just comparing Column A to Column B, I did a few more things.


How do we measure something like this? The obvious thing would be to try to gauge demographics of who watches who, and which has the most. I don’t have access to that kind of information, especially in America where so few people who actually watch Tennis can name more than a handful of players, unlike the rest of the world where it is the most popular sport next to Soccer. So rather than dig up demographics for the entire world, I instead used twitter. Professional athletes will need to have a social media presence, which is an indication of their fans. Certainly there is a correlation between social media followers and those that will pay money to go see them live, though likely not 1-for-1.

Money and Matches

When looking at how much each player received, I only focused on prize money earned, and not endorsements. This is because the complaint is that women get paid less for the work they do, which is reflected by how much prize money they receive and not how much more money they earn from 3rd parties.

I can tell you with endorsements, it appeared that men get more money from endorsements than women, but when you see my research, you will understand why that is.

For Men and Women, I looked at both their YTD (as of April 13th) and their Life time totals. I also took into account how many matches they have done. I combined singles and double matches to their total.

Something to take into consideration: many men’s events throughout the year require the best of five, while all others require best of three. All women’s events require best of 3. Without breaking down their actual set won for their matches, I took into consideration the theoretical difference, and calculated how much more work men do than women.

  • Women do 3 sets to win a match
    • At a minimum, Women must do two sets to win.
  • Men do 5 sets to win a match
    • At a minimum, Men must do three sets to win.
  • This means:
    • At a minimum, women must do 50% more sets in order to match men.
    • At a maximum, women must do 66% more sets in order to match men.
    • At a minimum, men must do 33% less work to match women.
    • At a maximum, men must do 40% less work to match women.

Trust me, the math works out. Now, this shouldn’t be taken as a hard fact, since not all men’s tournaments are best of 5. My results makes the assumption they are when I calculate how much money a woman would earn if she did the same work as men, but it is important to not take this as a hard fact. Rather view it as a range from what they currently make and the inflated amount, that somewhere in-between there is how much they would make if they had to do as many sets as men.

I don’t know what percentage of men events require five sets. If I was being paid for this and had access to all the data, then I could make this more precise.

Dollars to Tweets

I calculated based on their followers to how much money they make. Now YTD will be larger than Lifetime, but this is another way to compare value amongst players.

Too Many Matches

One thing that came up in my research of looking at the top 10 of each was that women appeared to be doing more matches than men. Now quite a few of men and women do both single and double, which I combined, and that could well be offsetting the number. Since women do only best of three, I reduced their match number by 40% (featured at the far right on results) to compensate for this difference in play. Once again, best not to look at this as a fact of total work, but rather a range in comparison to men.


I took this information for WTA and ATP databases, as well as individual Twitter accounts.

male tennis

female tennis

My first thought is that I should have become a tennis player.

So of the women sampled, Serena Williams is the Highest paid player in her career of Pro Tennis, though 2016 she’s the third highest Year To Date (YTD). Yet, of all women, she’s played the least but earning more per match than any other woman. Comparing her to Federer, she has earned more in 2016 than he has, though he does have a greater life time total, even though she has a higher amount per match. If we just match the total matches with no special math, he has done 30% more than she has. If we do the adjusted the amount if of matches to be compared to men (649), then he’s done 57% more matches. So he’s done somewhere between 30% – 57% more work, yet she is getting more per match than he is.

If we set Serena to do the work that men are required to do in Tennis, she is technically making more in her Lifetime than the highest earning man. Indicating, that if men were doing the same work that women do, they would be earning a lot less.

Looking at what has been earned this year, women are slightly ahead than men by $253,584. Some pay gap, women are coming out ahead. In fact, if we take out the highest and lowest for men and women, women are out performing men (YTD) by $515,496. So where’s this wage gap? I mean, I’m using feminist logic here and I’ve disproven their claim of a wage gap for 2016.

Now if we go over to Total (Lifetime), men are earning more than women. Maybe 2016 is an off year for men?

Of course, this is only looking at prizes won, and not endorsement deals. Men do seem to attract more fans, based on their twitter pages, than women. Men have 325% more followers than women. Now Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are obscuring the results, so let’s take out the best and worst. In this case, men have 1300% more followers than women.

Endorsements are generally given to people who can draw in customers. While Serena Williams is more than capable of doing that, she stands apart from her other female athletes. Men do draw in a lot of money for companies, and also for Tennis itself, and likely the higher prize money that is given to men, is due to the fact that these men are drawing a crowd. With higher amount of fans, men are earning about $4 per follower on twitter. Women, about $0.50.


So men do more work and bring in more fans, yet Feminists complain because for an event, Serena got less money, despite her competing in a different tournament than her male counterpart. And this one example is further proof of sexism within professional Tennis.

I’m not even really a researcher and I’ve demonstrated a few things:

  • Female Tennis players on average are out earning men for 2016
    • Men earn 81¢ to a Woman’s $1
  • Men bring in more than 300% more followers than women on Twitter
    • When adjusting for the extreme values, men bring in 1300% more followers than women
  • Serena Williams is actually getting more money in 2016 while doing less work compare to women and men, for each match she does
    • With what Serena has earned, if she was set to the standards of men, she out earns all males

If there is some disparity in pay between men and women, I think it is rather deserved since men bring in more fans, and yet, for 2016, women are on top. Of course, this only April, who knows what the rest of the year will be like, perhaps men will retake the hill so Feminists will have something to bitch about.

Once again, Feminists fail when one uses logic and bothers to crunch the numbers. It’s not hard, but certainly destroys the narrative that men don’t want women to have equal pay. It seems that women in Tennis can do less work for more pay and should be thankful that men bring in large crowds.

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About the author


Once a member of the Honey Badgers, he left due to real life issues going on that required more of his focus. He is doing all that he can to make a career out of writing, but still is in the movement to give voice to men that so rarely get their voice heard. On YouTube, he is known as the Angry Egalitarian.

He's an easy going guy who loves deep analytical thought, enjoys gaming, and being goofy.

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="154868 https://www.honeybadgerbrigade.com/?p=154868">1 comment</span>

  • All this about hours.worked.and Twitter followers without even touching on the quality of work as evidenced by the.superior skills of male athletes whenever there is a mixed gender match.

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