UPDATE (9:05 p.m. ET): Novak Djokovic posted an apology on Facebook on Tuesday night for his response to Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore’s sexist comments about women’s tennis, which he says were taken out of context.
ORIGINAL STORY: Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore’s sexist comments about women’s tennis over the weekend drew instant criticism from Serena Williams and many others. But the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player took a different approach.
In his reaction to Moore’s comments, which ultimately led to the CEO stepping down as the tournament chair and CEO of Indian Wells on Monday, Djokovic said he “applauds” women for getting equal prize money, but he also said men should fight for even more.
“Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing,” Djokovic said Sunday after beating Milos Raonic in the Indian Wells men’s final, via The Guardian. “You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years. 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. They fought for what they deserve and they got it. On the other hand 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. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve.”
Well, there’s a lot of issues with what Djokovic said, but his argument that the men have more spectators simply isn’t true. The U.S. Open women’s final actually sold out well before the men’s championship did last year, which is something Williams pointed out in her own response.
But Djokovic didn’t stop there.
?I have tremendous respect for what women in global sport are doing and achieving,” he said. “Their bodies are much different to men?s bodies. They have to go through a lot of different things that we don?t have to go through. You know, the hormones and different stuff, we don?t need to go into details. I have great admiration and respect for them to be able to fight on such a high level. Many of them have to sacrifice for certain periods of time, the family time or decisions that they make on their own bodies in order to play tennis and play professional sport. … I?m completely for women power.?
It doesn’t really sound like it, though.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images