Serena Williams has a new enemy in the tennis world, and we all know she rarely loses her battles.
Ray Moore, the (now, former) CEO of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California made a number of backhanded remarks that exposed his blatant sexism, and tennis superstar Williams jumped to the defense of her fellow Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) members.
While at a media breakfast on the final day of the tournament, Moore started off by saying; “In my next life when I come back I want to be someone on the WTA…” Yeah! Us too! “..because they ride on the coattails of the men.” Oh. Well, sh*t.
Then things just went from bad to worse. Moore went on to say that the “lady players” should “get on their knees every night” to thank their lucky stars for male tennis champs like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for “carrying the sport.” Serena, who has more champion titles than both Federer and Nadal, was having none of it. She told ESPN:
“Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that. I think Venus [Williams], myself, a number of players have been — 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. So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement. I think there is a lot of women out there who are more … are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.”
Moore’s comments were on based on his belief that male tennis players deserve more prize money than female players because men draw larger crowds. It’s true that men’s matches have been attracting more fans than women’s matches recently, but that hasn’t always been the case. Serena scored another point againstMoore when she noted that the 2015 US Open Women’s Final sold out before the men’s.
“I’m sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in that final that was sold out before the men’s final? I think not,”
Tennis is one of the only sports, and arguably one of the only fields in general, where men and woman are paid absolutely equally. The prize money awarded at each tournament is the same for men and women. So, while the rest of the world is struggling with pay equality, Ray Moore is suggesting the sport should go in the opposite direction.
Not surprisingly, Moore tried to back-pedal by apologizing for his remarks, and it was even suggested that they were taken out of context. Serena knew better than that;
“Well, if you read the transcript, you can only interpret it one way. I speak very good English. I’m sure he does too. You know, 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.”
Ray Moore resigned from his position this morning amidst the controversy.