Jessica Pegula expresses admiration for Serena Williams after induction in Forbes 30 under 30 list, expecting to see equal pay for women in WTA tournament

Jessica Pegula has been in scintillating form this season. To think that as recently as the end of 2020, Jessica was ranked 62nd in the world and now she sits at 5th is a proof of the classic case of a late bloomer.

In 2023, the American played 125 matches: 77 in singles and 48 in doubles, winning her second WTA 1000 trophy in Montreal before an emotional triumph in Seoul, South Korea, and making her first final at the WTA Finals.

Jessica Pegula’s remark after induction in Forbes 30 under 30

The Forbes list is an annual publication by the magazine recognizing 30 significant figures under the age of 30 from various walks of life. The American Tennis star Jessica Pegula has been named on the 2024 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.

The American star has won two WTA 1000 titles, seven double titles, and two WTA 500 titles this season. She won two of her four doubles titles at the Qatar Open and Miami Masters, reached the final of the WTA Finals in Cancun, and received a World No. 5 ranking. Jessica Pegula becomes the first American tennis player to be added to the Forbes list since Sloane Stephens in 2018.

Jessica was full of admiration for compatriots Coco Gauff, Serena Williams and Venus Williams; however, she doesn’t see herself filling in the shoes of the legendary sisters. “I don’t think anyone can fill Serena’s shoes. Having other top Americans there definitely helps, because I couldn’t imagine being the only American,” she said.

“Someone like Coco has a lot of pressure on her as far as being regarded as the next Serena or Venus. I don’t really see that as a role I have to fill.”

“Having little stats like that is really cool. Being able to do it with Coco as well, who I’m 10 years apart with in age difference, we see stats like that.. ‘2 Americans haven’t been in the semis in both singles & doubles since Serena and Venus. I’m definitely not gonna break the Grand Slam record.”

Jessica Pegula shares candid thoughts on equal pay

Tennis organizers have recently been at the forefront of paying female athletes well but Jessica Pegula warns that there is still a significant gap to bridge when it comes to equal pay for men and women in the sport. Stars of the WTA have dominated the Forbes Highest-Paid Female Athletes list, with Jessica Pegula coming in ninth, while Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams come in first and second, respectively.

However, most of these players’ earnings came from sponsorship deals, but they still have a long way to go when it comes to matching their male counterparts, as Osaka earned $51.1 million last year compared to Roger Federer, the top men’s tennis player, with $90.7 million in earnings.

Jessica Pegula hopes to see more WTA tournaments offering equal prize money in the next few years: “Women’s tennis is a huge sport for the highest-paid female athletes. It’s a huge global sport. But at the same time, the pay gap is still very big. We always talk about how it is equal in the slams, but that’s four tournaments a year. It is not equal in a lot of the other tournaments.

Jessica Pegula

“I think we need to do better at marketing for our game, which hopefully, I think the WTA started a new partnership with a private equity company that’s going to come in and kind of take the commercial side and hopefully revamp the marketing. Hopefully we see that pay off in the next few years where we get more of these tournaments at equal prize money.”

Nevertheless, many analysts do not agree with the call, as the ATP generated $176.8 million in revenue in 2022, while the WTA generated $87.8 million.

What’s your take on this? Make sure to let us know in the comments section.

Victor Okechukwu

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