• US Open

Women should play five sets - Murray

ESPN staff
September 5, 2013
Murray claims women should play five sets

Andy Murray insists he is ready to go five sets when he takes on the in-form Stanislas Wawrinka in their US Open quarter-final on Thursday - but believes there is no reason why women should not play the same if they are to earn equal prize money at grand slams.

Defending champion Murray had to come from a set behind to defeat Denis Istomin in his last 16 match at Flushing Meadows, and now faces the confident ninth seed Wawrinka - who took Novak Djokovic to five sets in a five hour epic at the Australian Open in January.

Murray earned $1.9 million when lifting the trophy in 2012 - women's champion Serena Williams also picked up the same pay cheque. Both singles champions are set to earn $2.6m from this year's tournament.

Speaking to the New York Times, Murray stated either the men should drop to three sets or women should play over five in order to justify equal pay.

"It isn't about it being inferior. As I see them, they're two different sports," Murray told the New York Times. "It's not like the 100 metres at the Olympics, not because they're not running the same speed as the men.

"It's just because we play five sets. I'm not saying the men work harder than the women, but, if you have to train to play five sets, it's a longer distance. It's like someone training to be a 400m runner and someone training to be a 600m runner.

"I think the women should play best-of-five sets. I don't see why they couldn't do it.

"It would mean the days in the slams are a little bit longer. And maybe it doesn't have to be from the first rounds. I think either the men go three sets or the women go five sets. I think that's more what the guys tend to complain about, rather than the equal prize-money itself."

Murray holds a slight head-to-head advantage over Wawrinka, winning eight and losing five of their 12 encounters, but the Swiss is enjoying some of the best tennis of his career. Wawrinka also saw off Murray in four sets at the 2010 US Open.

However, Murray is adamant his mental game has improved since his 2010 defeat and the Brit is ready to draw on all of his experience to reach the semi-final.

"I try to peak at the slams, I feel like mentally I'm a bit stronger at them than I was a few years ago, and I think the five-set distance suits me a little bit better than the best of three," Murray said.

"I don't know if he's [Wawrinka] working harder. He made a coaching change around the clay-court season, which may have helped him because he was without a coach for quite a while. That could have helped him a bit.

"The match he had with Novak [Djokovic] in Australia at the beginning of the year, that could have contributed to it as well. There are a lot of things that go into it.

"But he hasn't changed any of his strokes technically or anything. You'd expect most of it to be confidence."

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