LONDON, Apr 3 (Reuters) The WTA Tour has strongly criticised French Open organisers over their failure to award all women competitors the same prize money as their male counterparts at this year's claycourt grand slam.
Roland Garros organisers announced on Monday that for the first time the men's and women's champions would receive the same amount, 940,000 euros (1.13 million dollars), at the May 28-June 11 tournament.
However, other women competitors will receive less than their male counterparts, prompting an angry response from the WTA, which runs the women's tour.
''The WTA Tour is encouraged by Roland Garros' increase in prize money and we applaud the decision to award equal prize money to the women's winner,'' WTA chief executive Larry Scott said in a statement.
''That said, this move should not be allowed to distract from the fact that in the 21st century it is simply indefensible that 127 women's singles competitors and an equal number of women's doubles players in a grand slam tournament should be receiving considerably less prize money than their male counterparts.
''Quite apart from the moral case for parity, the remarkable quality and depth of play demonstrated by professional women tennis players, combined with the global popularity and media and sponsor interest in our players, merits equal prize money at all the grand slams.'' Unlike the US Open and the Australian Open grand slams, the French Open and Wimbledon do not offer men's and women's singles and doubles competitors equal prize money throughout the draw.
At this year's French Open the women's singles runner-up will receive 463,000 euros, compared to 470,000 euros for the men's runner-up.
At Wimbledon last year the men's singles champion earned 630,000 pounds (1.09 million dollars), with the women's singles winner pocketing 600,000.
The total prize money for the French Open tournament is approximately 14.3 million euros, up 5.56 per cent from last year.
Reuters PM VP0000