Murray: Women have extra options for making money
Andy Murray steered clear of either supporting or criticising Gilles Simon's claims that women do not deserve the same pay as men, but the Brit did point out that female tennis players have more options for making money.
Simon raised the issue earlier in the week, saying: "The male players spent twice as long on court at Roland Garros [the venue for the French Open] as the women. The equality in salaries isn't something that works in sport. Men's tennis remains more attractive than women's tennis at the moment."
The Frenchman was instantly rebuked by Marion Bartoli, who countered: "We put in as much as they do. The physical demands, the training and the investment in ourselves are the same as theirs."
Murray, after beating Ivo Karlovic on Thursday, preferred not to wade in with an opinion, instead pointing out a different issue in the debate. The British No. 1 highlighted that, due to the fact women play shorter matches than men, they have the option to boost their income by taking part in the doubles.
"For the women, it's much easier to play singles and doubles, so therefore more chance to make money that way, because there's very few of the singles guys that have a chance or a realistic shot of winning the event will be playing doubles here," Murray said.
"At the French Open Sara Errani made the final in singles and won the doubles because it's not best-of-five sets. It's the same thing here [at Wimbledon]. It's five sets in the singles, five sets in the doubles [for the men], so even less guys are going to play [both].
"There's things that we will agree on. It's not always just about equal pay, it's about the way the men's and women's tournaments differ."
Both Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams supported the view of Bartoli, with the Russian saying: "We women have fought so long to get equal prize money. It was a big challenge and nobody really supported us.
"It's been a few years since we've got that. We're all really proud of it, and we continue to build the sport and make it bigger, no matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get."
Williams added: "Definitely a lot more people are watching Maria than Simon. She's way hotter than he is.
"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. I'm sure he continues to work hard as I work hard, as well as everyone that's on a professional level."