(Reuters) - Organisers of the Italian Open and the tennis Tours came under fire on social media after it emerged that Rome men's champion Novak Djokovic was paid 10 euros ($11.74) more than women's winner Simona Halep.
Djokovic, who beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 for a record 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown, received 205,200 euros for his triumph while Halep won 10 euros less for sealing the WTA Premier 5 title after Karolina Pliskova retired from the final with injury while trailing 6-0 2-1.
But even as tennis' biggest events - the Grand Slams - have pushed for parity in prize money for winners, some fans online vented their ire that while Halep's prize came close to that of Djokovic, it frustratingly fell short.
The issue generated plenty of discussion on social media, with some individuals pointing out the "pathetic" difference.
"People who made a pay gap in cents are misogynists. Period," one individual said on Twitter.
"I almost feel like - if they so badly need those 10 euros to feel better about their manhood - hell's bells give it to 'em," another said.
Organisers of the tournament as well as the men's ATP Tour and women's WTA tour did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Last year, Rafa Nadal took home 958,055 euros as the men's winner in Rome, almost double the prize money given to women's winner Pliskova.
The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced the overall prize pot of the men's event to around 3.47 million euros while the women's fund was around 1.69 million euros.
ATP Masters 1000 events are the biggest on the men's Tour after the Grand Slams and the season-ending ATP Finals, while Premier 5 events are lower than Premier Mandatory tournaments and the WTA Finals.
($1 = 0.8518 euros)
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)