Billie Jean King: Female players are seen as 'second-class citizens'

Female tennis stars are being treated ‘like second-class citizens’, claims Billie Jean King after only one women’s match at the French Open was staged at prime time… and says both genders should play best of three sets

  • Billie Jean King was sad to see only one women’s match given a prime time slot
  • The former number one feels the solution is for men to play three-set matches 
  • She says the reform can stop female players feeling like ‘second-class citizens’
  • The American also claimed that it would stop male athletes from retiring early 

Billie Jean King said that female tennis players are being treated like ‘second-class citizens’ in the wake of only one of this year’s 10 night sessions at the French Open featuring a women’s match.

‘You want to make everyone feel important,’ said King, who would like to see women’s matches be played in prime-time slots with ‘equal opportunity’ given to both sexes.

King, the winner of 39 singles and doubles Grand Slam titles, said: ‘If [they] keep treating us like second-class citizens we will stay second-class citizens.’

Billie Jean King believes men should play three-set matches at Grand Slams as the women do

The tennis legend was not happy to see just one women’s match televised at prime time

Her solution to better scheduling would be for men to play best of three sets instead of the best of five at Grand Slams.

‘I have been saying forever we should only play two out of three sets. 

‘As the players get older, I want them to be able to play,’ she said. 

‘I never want him to stop’: King feels three-set matches would profit veterans like Rafael Nadal

‘Nadal is one. Do you want him to stop? I never want him to stop.’

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo has apologised for describing women’s matches as ‘less appealing’ than men’s. 

She said the organisers would try to find a better solution next year.

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