Naomi Osaka’s Relief Fund Efforts Opens New Debate on Prize Money Difference at Cincinnati Open 2021

Published 08/20/2021, 2:37 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 2 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after winning her second round match against Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland REUTERS/Mike Segar


On 14th August 2021, a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern part of Haiti. On that account, Naomi Osaka, whose father is Haitian, pledged to donate all her Cincinnati Open 2021 winnings to the affected. Astonishingly, the revelation has put a sizeable difference between the ATP and WTA prize money into the limelight.

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Unlike many tournaments, the Western and Southern Open does not have equal pay for men and women’s competitions. What’s unbelievable is that the gap is almost $400,000.

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Cincinnati Open 2021 to match the donation of Naomi Osaka for Haiti relief

Japanese World No.2 Naomi Osaka returned to WTA Tour at Cincinnati Open after her withdrawal from the French Open. Since her game is not yet back to her best, she saw an upset against Swiss professional Jill Teichmann in the third round.

Aug 19, 2021; Mason, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts during a change of ends against Jil Teichmann (SUI) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

After the match, the Western and Southern Open announced that they would double Osaka’s Haiti relief fund. Unintentionally, they have brought much more attention to women’s lower prize money than the men’s circuit.

Here is the total breakdown of WTA and ATP prize-money at the Cincinnati Open 2021. Notably, the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic have also affected the winner’s takings.

Since Osaka lost in the third round, she would receive $24,200. Comparatively, she could have earned $68,325 for the same feat on the men’s Tour.

Indeed, it is the right time for the organizers of the WTA 1000 event to look into the matter. Hopefully, things would change in the right direction when the Tour returns here next year.

What’s next for Osaka after the Cincinnati disappointment?

Unquestionably, the lack of match time has substantially impacted Osaka’s decision-making on the court. That is one of the reasons why she lost in the Tokyo Olympics as well as in Cincinnati.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 3 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off after losing her third round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic REUTERS/Mike Segar

But from here on, the Japanese star has her US Open 2021 title to defend. Without any doubt, she would want to be ready before the campaign starts.

Probably, Osaka might opt to play in a small tournament before going to New York. If not, she would have to invest a lot into practising at the Flushing Meadows.

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All in all, Osaka is back in the tennis world and slowly but steadily getting her rhythm back. Let’s see if she can get back to her best before US Open 2021. Do you think Osaka can win the US Open this year?

Watch this story: How Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, And Other Tennis Stars Travel

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Purav Joshi

1118 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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