Men players support women players equality
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Some of the top men's tennis players at the Miami Open on Tuesday disagreed with Raymond Moore's controversial comments regarding women's tennis.
Moore, the former BNP Paribas Open chief operating officer and tournament director, resigned on Monday night despite apologizing for his remarks. He had spent the past 29 years in various roles with the California tournament that hosts a combined men and women's Masters event each March.
On Sunday, right before Victoria Azarenka upset No. 1 Serena Williams for the BNP Paribas Open title, Moore told reporters the women players should be thankful to their male counterparts ''because they ride on the coattails of the men.''
Moore then added, ''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.''
Andy Murray, ranked No. 2 in the world, believes in equal pay.
''I think there should be equal pay, 100 percent, especially at all combined events,'' Murray said. ''The timing of it was just so strange. It was right before you had a great women's final with like 60,000 people sitting in the stadium.
''The whole thing was so strange and pretty disappointing,'' Murray added.
American John Isner also expressed his disappointment over the comments.
''I think those comments were in a bit of poor taste,'' Isner said. ''It has caused somewhat of a controversy now. As far as our tour is concerned, the ATP is fighting for what we think we're worth and the WTA is doing that as well.''
WTA chief executive officer Steve Simon, who came to the WTA last fall after being the tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open, released a statement related to Moore's departure on Tuesday.
''Raymond Moore has taken full responsibility for the unacceptable comments he has made,'' Simon said. ''It is the right decision for him to step down. The BNP Paribas Open has supported the payment of equal prize money to all players since 2009. The WTA looks forward to working with Mr. (Larry) Ellison and the Indian Wells team on continued efforts in making the sport better and equal for all players.''
On Tuesday, there was also concern raised about comments No. 1 Novak Djokovic made suggesting the men should seek more money because their matches tend to attract more spectators.
''The whole thing doesn't really stack up because things are going to change day-to-day dependent on the matches you're going to get,'' said Murray, citing that a Serena Williams match in Miami will pack a stadium more than many men's matches.
''Men's tennis has been lucky over the last 10 years because of the quality of players. But the whole of tennis should capitalize on that and not just the men's game in my opinion.''
Serena Williams didn't want to comment on Moore's resignation, but offered a suggestion for maintaining equal prize money.
''If I have a daughter and she plays tennis, and I have a son who plays tennis, I wouldn't say that my son deserves more money because he's a man,'' she said. ''I would say they deserve the same amount of money.
''I think (Djokovic) is entitled to his opinion,'' she added. ''But if he has a daughter - I think he has a son right now - I think he should talk to his daughter and tell her his son deserves more money than you because he's a boy.''