Indian Wells tournament chief executive Raymond Moore on Tuesday resigned after his controversial comments about women’s tennis.
Moore, 69, said the women’s game “rides on the coat-tails” of the men — a view described as “sexist” by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), reports Efe.
Indian Wells owner Larry Ellison said in a statement on Tuesday in the tournament’s official website, “Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore. Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”
The controversy began with incendiary statements by Moore during his traditional talk with the media on the last day of the competition.
“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coat-tails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said during a media conference on Sunday’s women’s final of the competition.
“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 added.
Moore released a statement later on Sunday in which he said, “I am truly sorry for those remarks and apologise to all the players and the WTA as a whole.
“We had a women’s final that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena Williams and Victoria (Azarenka, who beat Williams 6-4 6-4) and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”
Women’s World No.1 Serena Williams said Moore’s statement was “offensive and very inaccurate”.
“I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate,” Serena said.
But her male counterpart, Novak Djokovic, claimed his tour should fight for more money. Djokovic, who won the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday, described Moore’s remarks as “not politically correct”.
But the 28-year-old Serb suggested men should get more prize money because more people watch their matches.
“Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. 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. I applaud them for that. I honestly do,” Djokovic said.
“I think as long as it’s like that and there’s data and stats available and information, you know, upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets, and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed,” Djokovic elaborated.