WTA announces new circuit plans with pay parity in top events

The governing body of women’s tennis announced a new circuit structure on Tuesday with a “pathway to handing out equal prize money” for men and women at combined WTA 1000 and 500 events starting from 2027.

Tennis has sought to be a leader in the battle for equality in the last couple of decades with equal prize money offered to men and women at the four Grand Slams.

WTA Tour events, however, have often offered less prize money than those on the separate men’s ATP circuit, but the tour now plans to address the issue with its new strategy.

The WTA, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation this year, said the jump in prize money will happen over time to ensure changes are sustainable for players and tournaments in the long term.

WTA 1000 and 500 combined events will accordingly reach prize money parity by 2027, while single-week WTA 1000 and 500 events will do so by 2033.

“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,” said WTA founder and tennis great Billie Jean King.

The tour’s revised calendar will have 10 WTA 1000 events, with Beijing (2024) and Cincinnati and Toronto/Montreal (2025) set to have larger fields.

The additional WTA 1000 events will be one-week events in Doha, Dubai and a yet to be named venue.

Wuhan was not named as a WTA 1000 event, while Monterrey, Strasbourg and Seoul have been promoted to the WTA 500 level.

“New player entry rules will ensure consistent presence of the top athletes at these premium events throughout the year,” the WTA added.

“The increase in two-week WTA 1000 tournaments combined with the ATP demonstrates a clearer alignment across both Tours.”

The WTA calendar for 2024 is set to be announced in the coming months.

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