Indian Wells (US): World No 1 Serena Williams ripped "offensive" remarks by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, who claimed women's tennis was riding on the coattails of the men's game.
Serena Williams and Raymond Moore
"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," Moore, a 69-year-old former player from South Africa, told reporters as his annual state of the tournament press conference on Sunday morning.
Not surprisingly, 21-time Grand Slam champion Williams was scathing in her response. "Obviously, I don't think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that," Williams said. "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," Williams said.
Williams said she quickly became aware of Moore's remarks via social media, even though she was busy on Sunday morning, preparing to meet Victoria Azarenka in the women's final, which the Belarusian won in straight sets.
'I'm truly sorry'
A swift backlash to Moore's comments, which also included remarks on the physical attractiveness of some of the WTA's rising stars, had him issuing an apology even before the men's Masters final between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic was completed. "At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous," Moore said.