INDIAN WELLS. — World number one Novak Djokovic has indicated men’s tennis should get more prize money than the women’s game because it has more spectators as a new controversy erupted over equality in the sport.
After winning the Indian Wells title for the fifth time, the Serbian star said tournament director Raymond Moore was wrong to say that women’s tennis is riding on the coattails of the men’s game.
Djokovic said women “fought for what they deserve and they got it”. But he added that the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) “should fight for more.”
“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.”
Djokovic was one of a number of players to question tournament director Moore who apologised for his comments about the women’s game after he was slammed as being “offensive” by women’s number one Serena Williams.
“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,” Moore, a 69-year-old former player from South Africa, told reporters as his annual press conference on Sunday morning.
Williams was scathing in her response.
“Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” she said.
“If I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister, I couldn’t even bring up that number,” Williams said.
There was a swift backlash to Moore’s comments, which also included remarks on the physical attractiveness of some rising WTA stars.
“At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous,” Moore said in a statement.
“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologise to all the players and WTA as a whole.” — AFP.