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Serena Williams not sorry as Raymond Moore quits post over women's tennis remarks

By Robert Jones

Published 23/03/2016

Row: Raymond Moore said Serena Williams and other women ‘ride on the coattails’ of the men
Row: Raymond Moore said Serena Williams and other women ‘ride on the coattails’ of the men

The WTA have welcomed the resignation of Raymond Moore as tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Moore sparked outrage with his comments that women's tennis "rides on the coattails" of the men's game. Moore said ahead of Sunday's women's final that female players should "go down every night on (their) knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born".

WTA chief executive Steve Simon, Moore's predecessor at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, criticised the comments and said the South African's decision to step down was the right one.

Simon's statement read: "Raymond Moore has taken full responsibility. It is the right decision for him to step down."

Larry Ellison, the owner of one of the biggest tournaments outside the Grand Slams, announced Moore's resignation yesterday morning.

He said in a statement: "Ray let me know that he has decided to step down effective immediately. I understand his decision."

Moore had already apologised publicly for comments that received widespread criticism, including from Indian Wells finalist Serena Williams, who said: "I don't think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that."

Ellison took time to praise Williams and Billie Jean King among others for their role in the sport's progress towards gender equality.

He said: "Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally.

"Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many others, an important measure of success has already been achieved."

Speaking on the morning of the final day of the tournament, Moore said: "In my next lifetime when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, they ride on the coattails 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, they have carried this sport."

Moore also described players such as Eugenie Bouchard and Garbine Muguruza as "physically and competitively attractive".

He released a statement on Sunday and said: "I am truly sorry 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 and Victoria (Azarenka, who beat Williams 6-4 6-4) and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry."

That was not enough to appease Williams, though. She said: "Last year the women's final at the US Open sold out well before the men. Did Roger or Rafa play in that final? I think not.

"There's only one way to interpret that. Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not.... we, as women, have come a long way.

"We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point."

Novak Djokovic waded into the row following his victory over Milos Raonic in the men's final by claiming male players should receive more prize money than women, earning criticism from Navratilova among others.

Belfast Telegraph

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