What people? Certainly none that I've met.
What I'm saying it pretty trivial. When people don't assign greatness by sex, the best man of any sport is almost always considered the very best human on the planet at it. Boxing... basketball... cycling... etc.
But why would we shift the burden of proof to the women?
Technically, the burden should be on them as they're making the initial move. The debate begins with their accusation of unfairness, so it seems only fair that the burden be on them. This is usually how it works in law and formal debates.
I think they need equal pay unless it can be proven that they don't hold the same sway.
Are female professional tennis players the exception? Or should this standard be applied to women in all professions? Should female boxers, basketball players, soccer players, etc., all get equal pay until/unless their professional male counterparts provide conclusive proof that the male version is more popular and generates more revenue?
Unless tennis is an exception, how would your thinking apply to professional basketball, soccer, and boxing, just to name three?
And how do we know one way or the other? Wimbledon says so? When people attend the slams, I'm sure there are particular players they want to see. But you don't buy tickets to men's tennis or women's tennis at the slams...you buy tickets for the day (or part of the day, or however you want to slice the pie). So how would something like that be measured?
I don't think it would be too tough, as there are two tours, the WTA and ATP. Except for at a select few tournaments the equal prize money issue is moot. In theory, I don't see why measuring the popularity, level of interest, revenue generated, and whatever other factors, of each tour and doing a side by side comparison of the numbers wouldn't give a reasonably accurate measure of their respective economic sway. I'd imagine you could do this with the NBA and WNBA, too.
Of course I'm not sure what the situation is like outside of the U.S., but I think it's fair to say that women's tennis is equally, if not more, popular than men's.
I don't know why it's fair to say. From what I see men's tennis is more popular. Tennis is pretty much the second most popular sport in the rest of the world, so we should probably ask some people in other countries, but I'd be willing to bet that overall men's tennis is the more avidly followed tour.
Compare ratings for grand slam finals in the past three years. See who's making the "who's who" lists. See who's on the magazine covers. See who's making "extracurricular" appearances. See who is being written/talked about. Based on those factors, Roddick, Venus and Serena have everyone beat (actually, Serena has everyone beat, but that's another story).
And while Federer might be "the best," I'd say that Venus, Serena, and Sharapova have more drawing power than Federer here in the states.
I agree with you here. Serena and Venus, whatever they're getting, probably aren't getting nearly what they "deserve" in terms of broadening tennis' fanbase. Richard Williams once said something about the WTA giving his daughters money for all the publicity they generate for the tour in general, and I didn't think it was such a crazy idea.
The WTA is more character driven. They're much more open about their rivalries, and we know the backstories of girls like Serena, Venus, Dokic, and Sharapova. Even Mary Pierce. Throw in problem child Capriati. Too candid for her own good Hingis, and hottie Anna K. The ATP doesn't have that. It's like the guys are too professional or something.
With that said, if the tournaments who have women and men playing at the same time decided to sell tickets for men or women matches only, unless the top men's seeds don't show up for some reason, I would feel safe betting money that the men's tickets would sell better. Even when women players talk about who they like to watch, they generally name a guy. That's my opinion. I feel pretty strongly about it but I don't have any numbers to back it up.
In the end I feel okay with the idea of a free market determining what people make. Sure, it sucks a lot of times, but in the absence of an infallible ethical guidebook addressing these matters, it may be the fairest thing we have.