1968 was the beginning of what is known as the Open Era of tennis. What this means is prior to April 1968 only amateurs were allowed to compete in established tournaments, including the four Grand Slams. There was NO prize money and players were compensated for travel expenses only.
In 2015 here is the prize money awarded for competing in the finals of the four Grand Slams:
Singles Prize Money Winner Runner up
Australian Open $2,126,000.00 $1,550,000.00
Roland Garros $1,967,000.00 $1,027,290.00
US Open $3,300,000.00 $1.600,000.00
Wimbledon $2,665,000.00 $1,170,488.00
Have you ever wonder how much money a chair umpire makes for calling a final of a grand slam? These are 2015 numbers.
Australian Open Chair Umpire $3,113.00
Roland Garros Chair Umpire $3,113.00
US Open Chair Umpire $3,000.00
Wimbledon Chair Umpire $3,7356.00
So what is my point? Just this, no one could professionally play any sport without officials. Do you think the official is any less trained for his job than the person playing the sport? For every sport the people behind the calls are seasoned veterans who have spent countless hours making calls. With that said I am wondering what you may think of the difference in pay for a professional athlete and their counterpart official.
Obviously one does NOT go to a tennis match to watch the chair umpire nor am I suggesting equal pay. But here is a thought; every time you use your credit card the credit card company charges the seller 1-3% of the cost of the sale. These qualified, seasoned professionals are paid less than 1% of what the athletes are paid during the same tennis match for their professional service. I’m wondering if things have gone a little haywire.