Some have been upset over a pay gap between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, who hasn’t quite matched up to Williams in her ability on the court. Some think it’s a form of racism, while others believe that it’s just simple business.
This week in The New York Times, Williams was asked about the pay gap and whether or not it bothered her. Here’s what she said:
If they want to market someone who is white and blond, that’s their choice. I have a lot of partners who are very happy to work with me. I can’t sit here and say I should be higher on the list because I have won more. I’m happy for her, because she worked hard, too. There is enough at the table for everyone. We have to be thankful, and we also have to be positive about it so the next black person can be No. 1 on that list.
That’s a pretty classic response from someone who is more focused on being great at her sport than she is on getting into meaningless fights.
Serena also says that her success might be opening the door for other great black female tennis players of the future.
“Maybe it’s meant to be the next person to be amazing, and I’m just opening the door. Zina Garrison, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Venus [Williams] opened so many doors for me.”
The dominance of Williams over Sharapova has been simply overwhelming. Williams has defeated Sharapova 16 straight times. But despite Serena’s dominance on the court, Sharapova has been the winner in the bank account. According to Forbes, Sharapova hauled in $22 million in income last year compared to Seren’s $11 million.
Is that racial bias or just Sharapova’s appeal to the market? You be the judge of that.