Boycott talk surprises Mattek-Sands

Updated: September 2, 2012, 7:35 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. -- Bethanie Mattek-Sands was surprised by reports that ATP World Tour are weighing a decision to boycott the Australian Open in January over prize money in the early rounds.

It was an issue that came up at a WTA player meeting in the first week of the U.S. Open, and Mattek-Sands is a recently named member of the player counsel.

"This is the first we've heard of it," Mattek-Sands said. "I know some of the men on the counsel and the guys in general. Obviously we all know what Gilles Simon said at (Wimbledon) and it's just tough because they really don't talk to us a lot."

At Wimbledon, Simon said he did not think the women deserved as much in prize money as the men because their matches are not as compelling to him, and because they play a shorter best-of-three sets format.

"We agree with some of the things they're talking about percentage wise but nobody from their counsel has talked to us."

Mattek-Sands said given the equal prize money the Grand Slam events have provided since 2007, it would make sense for one tour to join with the other if they want to leverage the power of the players.

"I think everyone will agree, even the guys," Mattek-Sands said, "that the best tournaments for everybody are the combined events; Cincinnati now that it's combined, Indian Wells, Miami, even the guys will agree that's when we get the most fans, the most prize money it's good for everybody. So I'm not really sure why they're not really wanting to talk with us even. Again, we agree with the percentages, compared with other sports tennis players get way lower percentage of the pie. Most of the women agree with that too."

The Australian pays $21,600 to first-round losers, the lowest of all the Slams. The concern is that players are given a lower percentage of total revenue than players in other professional sports command.

"You can ask any girl out there, 'Do you want a pay raise?' Who's going to say no to that," Mattek-Sands asked.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.