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The Week That Was: Pay To Play

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Karma's a wonderful thing now and then, isn't it, Gilles Simon? Do remember that on your Eurostar trip home.

With barely a sniff at the Wimbledon title, having lost in straight sets to Belgian Xavier Malisse, the man known as "little chicken" to his friends will be best remembered from this year's championship for reigniting the perennial argument about how much the men and women's winners earn for their troubles.

Warming us up nicely with a well-timed comment to France Info last weekend, Gilles claimed that, "The equality in salaries isn't something that works in sport. Men's tennis remains more attractive than women's tennis at the moment."

He's since refused to back-down, claiming that all the other men in the locker rooms agree with him, but won't tell anyone because they're scared of losing their sponsorship deals.

If my Twitter stream is anything to go by, Gilles has actually got plenty of supporters on the "well, they play five sets, so should earn more" stance.

Serena Williams disagrees. Laughing the whole debacle off, she went on to point out quite reasonably that the hard work which goes into any game of professional tennis, three sets or five, means everyone should be treated equally when they win.

"You know, I started playing tennis at two years old. I'm sure he started when he was two years old, as well. I worked just as hard as he did," she pointed out.

"I'm sure he continues to work hard as I work hard, as well as everyone that's on a professional level. We are all very professional and all work hard."

Except, Gilles says his comments had nothing to do with how long anyone spends on court, it's actually to do with entertainment.

In a clarification to his earlier statement, which presumably he had more time to craft, not having any matches left this week, Gilles explained: "My point was that I have the feeling that men's tennis is actually more interesting than women's tennis."

That's the thing with feelings, we don't all have the same ones. I for one, feel that Gilles should be forced to watch Maria Sharapova on repeat for the rest of the summer.

However, rather than wasting time arguing about a decision that was unanimously voted in more than five years ago, what we should be doing is holding Wimbledon's championship committee up as an shining beacon to the rest of the world.

As Women's Tennis Association chairman Stacey Allaster said: "Tennis, including the grand slams, is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality. I can't believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise."

When we still have women across the UK being paid less than their male peers, examples should be set and if it's the quintessentially British Wimbledon tournament that sets it, so much the better.

Now, if they could only offer the women players towels in any colour other than pink, we'd really be making progress.

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