Culture secretary Tessa Jowell has called for tennis players to receive equal pay at the Wimbledon championship.
One week before the tournament starts, Jowell has written to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which organises the event, to express her “deep concern” over the gender pay gap.
Wimbledon is now the last major tennis championship which does not offer equal pay to the winners.
“It is anomalous that women receive less prize money than men, and this fact is tarnishing the image of the championship. I would like to join the chorus of voices across tennis urging you to consign this inequality to the past, and bring your prize structure into line with the rest of world tennis,” Jowell said.
The women’s champion will earn £625,000 this year, while her male counterpart will win £655,000.
The only competition where women and men will achieve equal pay is the mixed doubles, where winners will receive £90,000 each.
Supporters of the pay discrepancy point out that women play three-set matches rather than the longer five-set matches in the men’s game.