After winning an incredible 11th French Open title at Roland Garros on Sunday, Rafael Nadal should be in the headlines for all the right reasons this week.
By beating Dominic Thiem, the Spaniard claimed the 17th Grand Slam of his stellar career to move to within three major titles of his great rival Roger Federer, though he admitted he isn't too bothered about chasing him down.
What he does appear to be more concerned about at the moment, though, is the subject of equal pay for men and women in the sport.
Tennis has long been criticised for giving men more prize money on tour, but that looks to be at an end now, with equal money on offer at major tournaments.
Nadal, however, will no doubt have caused a huge stir within the sport and wider society by claiming that this movement is wrong and that men should in fact get paid more in tennis.
Speaking to an Italian magazine this week, Nadal gave his controversial thoughts.
"It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make,” the Majorca-born star said, when asked if female tennis players should be paid as much as their male counterparts.
“Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”
No surprise then, that his comments didn't go down too well on social media, with journalists and fans taking to Twitter to express their disappointment.
The topic of equal pay in tennis has been fiercely debated since legendary women’s player Billie Jean King established the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, winning equal pay for women at the US Open in the process.
More recently, Serena Williams has hit out at Raymond Moore after the CEO of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells said that female players “ride on the coattails of men,” and that they should “go down every night on [their] knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born.”
Nadal is not the only major player to claim that men should be paid more in tennis, though, with Novak Djokovic arguing that men should earn more because “we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches.”
With equal pay a topic at the forefront of jobs other than in tennis, it's certainly something that won't be going away anytime soon, and Nadal has just made sure of that.
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