Serena Williams has brushed off suggestions female players do not deserve equal prize money to men after her 48-minute thrashing of Elena Vesnina.
Williams’ 6-2 6-0 victory is the fastest singles semi-final at Wimbledon since official records began and the thumping regurgitated debate about prize money in the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Losing semi-finalists in both draws will earn £500,000 this year while the runner-up will pocket £1m and the winner £2m.
Williams’ domination came in stark contrast to the two thrilling men’s quarter-finals on Centre Court on Wednesday, which both went to five sets as Roger Federer fought back to beat Marin Cilic and Andy Murray held off a late comeback from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Together with Angelique Kerber’s 6-4 6-4 win over Venus Williams yesterday, the two Centre Court matches took exactly two hours in total, while Federer and Murray’s victories lasted a combined seven hours and 11 minutes.
Wimbledon has awarded equal prize money to men and women since 2007 and Serena Williams insists that remains the correct decision.
“Yeah, I think we deserve equal prize money, absolutely,” Williams said.
“If you happen to write a short article, you think you don’t deserve equal pay as your beautiful colleague behind you?
“I would like to see people, the public, the press, other athletes in general, just realise and respect women for who they are and what we are and what we do. I’ve been working at this since I was three years old.
“Basically my whole life I’ve been doing this. I haven’t had a life. I don’t think I would deserve to be paid less because of my sex, or anyone else for that matter in any job.”
Kerber will now face Williams tomorrow, in a repeat of the Australian Open final in January when the German produced a stunning upset to clinch the title.
The world number four believes matches are just as unpredictable in the women’s game.
“This is tough because you never know how the matches are before you came here,” Kerber said.
“We are giving everything on court, everybody. It doesn’t matter if you win or if you lose, that’s sport. You never know what happens at the end.
“We give our best. At the end only two can win. You never know if it’s two hours or, at the end, eight hours.”
Meanwhile, Andy Murray is feeling the benefit of having Ivan Lendl back in his corner as he prepares for another Wimbledon semi-final.
The world number two is through to the last four at the All England Club for the seventh time in the last eight years and will play Tomas Berdych today.
Murray reunited with coach Lendl two weeks before Wimbledon and so far they are unbeaten in 10 matches, with the Scot winning his fifth Queen’s title ahead of the championships.
The pair surprisingly split in March 2014 after the best two years of Murray’s career and, when Lendl said he was ready to give it another shot, Murray did not hesitate.
Perceived wisdom is that Murray is a calmer, more positive figure on court with the emotionless face of Lendl looking down on him.
It was not quite like that in his topsy-turvy quarter-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday, but crucially he did not allow himself to become too negative and shouted to his box early in the fifth set: “No way I’m losing this match.”
Murray said of Lendl’s influence: “I think it’s beneficial having him there, for sure, because I trust him, have a lot of confidence in him.
“So, for sure, he can help when I’m on the court a little bit, just his presence. Might be a small amount but every little bit helps.”
In today’s other semi-final, Roger Federer faces the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.
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