Eighteen-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova responded Monday to Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO Raymond Moore’s comments regarding female tennis players.
“It was really disheartening to see Ray Moore offer the extremely prejudiced and very old fashioned statements regarding women tennis players,” Navratilova said in an email. “We have made it this far on our own, without help from male players, and will continue to do so in the future. It would be hard to imagine any women to want to go and play at Indian Wells if Moore stays as the tournament director.”
Moore told reporters Sunday that he thinks male players have carried the sport of tennis.
“No, I think the WTA—you know, in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, (laughter) because they ride on coattails of the men,” Moore said. “They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky.
“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.”
Novak Djokovic added to Moore’s comments Sunday by saying that he believes male players deserve more prize money because they draw more spectators than female players.
“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,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Navratilova also responded to Djokovic’s comments Monday.
“And Novak Djokovic, as much as I love him, clearly doesn’t understand why, when women and men play in combined tournaments, they must be paid equally,” Navratilova added. “I thought we settled that issue years ago.”