Serena Williams says female tennis players deserve their equal pay, in the latest debate about prize money.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion was questioned on the issue after her 48-minute 6-2 6-0 Wimbledon semi-final victory against Elena Vesnina.
Roger Federer and Andy Murray’s Centre Court quarter-finals against Marin Cilic and Jo Wilfried-Tsonga lasted a combined seven hours and 11 minutes.
“I don’t deserve to be paid less because of my sex,” said Williams, 34.
The American was asked about equal pay by the media after she swept into her ninth Wimbledon title in under an hour while, on Wednesday, second seed Murray and third seed Federer were both taken to five sets.
In March, male world number one Novak Djokovic said men deserved to be paid more because more people watched them.
However, the 11-time Grand Slam winner apologised shortly afterwards, saying: “I don’t make any differences between the genders. I am for equality in the sport.”
His comments followed Indian Wells tournament chief Raymond Moore saying the women’s game was “riding on the coat tails” of the men’s.
Moore, who also said female players “should get down on their knees” in thanks to male counterparts, later resigned.
“Basically my whole life I’ve been doing this. I haven’t had a life,” defending Wimbledon champion Williams said.
“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.”
Wimbledon was the last Grand Slam to introduce equal pay in 2007, while the French, US and Australian Slams introduced it in 2006, 1973 and 2001 respectively.
Williams will face Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final on Saturday, after the German beat Venus Williams 6-4 6-4 in the other semi-final, in 72 minutes.
Kerber said: “We are giving everything on court, everybody. You never know if it’s two hours or, at the end, eight hours.”