Tennis World No.1 Novak Djokovic believes that male tennis players should earn more money than their female counterparts, considering the fact that more people watch their matches.
Earlier, Raymond Moore chief executive of the Indian Wells tournament, said the women’s WTA Tour “ride on the coat-tails of the men”.
“If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have,” Moore, a 69-year-old former player from South Africa, had said ahead of the BNP Paribas final between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams on Sunday.
He later apologised for his sexist comments.
Djokovic, who won the men’s singles title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, described Moore’s comments as “not politically correct”, although he asserted that the men’s tennis tour “should fight for more”.
“Obviously, it’s a very delicate situation. Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years. I have been through that process as well so I understand how much power and energy WTA and all the advocates for equal prize money have invested in order to reach that,” the 28-year-old Serb told the media after beating Milos Raonic in the final here.
“I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it. On the other hand, I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve.”
“As long as it’s like that and there is data and stats available upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed,” he added.
There has been equal prize money in all the four Grand Slams — the Australian Open, US Open, French Open and Wimbledon — since 2007, and combined Masters events such as Indian Wells and Miami pay the same to men and women.
But female players are paid significantly less at women-only events when compared to similar sized men’s events.
Women’s World No.1 Serena Williams said Moore’s statement was “offensive”, calling it “mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate”.