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Tennis

Serena's slapdown: “You think you don't deserve equal pay?”

Tennis

Serena Williams smacked a reporter for six after reigniting the debate around equal prize money in tennis with the fastest Wimbledon’s semi-final in history.

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Williams’ 48-minute rout of Elena Vesnina followed by Angelique Kerber’s 72-minute beating of Venus Williams gave fans bang on two hours of centre-court action on Thursday.

The quickfire semi-finals came after spectators on Wednesday were treated to more than seven hours of entertainment as Roger Federer and home hope Andy Murray notched thrilling five-set men’s quarter-final wins.

Williams, though, gave a male journalist short shrift when asked about the hot, though sensitive, topic in her post-match press conference.

“I think we deserve equal prize money,” said the world No.1.

“Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you happen to write a short article, you think you don’t deserve equal pay as your beautiful colleague behind you?”

Williams was also asked how she’d like women’s tennis to be perceived when she retires.

“Well, I would like to see people, the public, the press, other athletes in general, just realise and respect women for who they are and what we are and what we do,” the American said.

“Like I say, I’ve been working at this since I was three years old. Actually maybe younger, because I have a picture where I’m in a stroller. I think Venus is actually pushing me, and we’re on the tennis court.

“Basically my whole life I’ve been doing this. I haven’t had a life.

“I don’t think I would deserve to be paid less because of my sex, or anyone else for that matter in any job.”

But the superstar who’s happily posed in bikinis and other slinky outfits for Sports Illustrated over the years wasn’t as sure how to answer another question.

“The objectification of women, the baby doll dresses, making it more sellable and marketable, is that something you would like to see addressed?” a female reporter put to the 21-times grand slam champion.

“I don’t know how to answer that,” Williams said.

“I don’t think that wearing a dress or wearing shorts would be different.

“If you asked me what I would choose to wear, I would choose a dress any day over shorts.

“I don’t think it makes a difference in whether it’s sexing them up.

“If wearing a dress is being sexier than wearing shorts, maybe it is.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the subject of equal prize money.”

Wimbledon, like the other three grand slam events in Melbourne, Paris and New York, offers equal prize money despite the men playing best-of-five set matches and women only best-of-three.

-AAP

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