Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has apologized for his comments that suggested men deserve to be paid more than women.
Djokovic had responded to BNP Paribas Open CEO Raymond Moore's comments made before Sunday's finals at the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., that WTA players "ride on the coattails of the men."
Djokovic was speaking after he claimed victory Sunday and defended the use of statistics to determine the purse at joint events.
In Tuesday's Facebook post, Djokovic said he wanted to clarify his initial comments from Sunday.
"As you all know, I care deeply about the future of the game and all of the players," Djokovic wrote. "Tennis helped me so much in my life and being where I am today, I felt the need to speak about the fairer and better distribution of funds across the board -- this was meant for both men and women. We all have to fight for what we deserve. This was never meant to be made into a fight between genders and differences in pay, but in the way all players are rewarded for their play and effort.
"Tennis is a sport that I love and that gave me the opportunity to help others who still have a long way to go to achieve their dreams. This was my view all along and I want to apologize to anyone who has taken this the wrong way."
Djokovic on Sunday, admitting Moore's comments as "not politically correct," praised the women's game for its efforts on equal pay but he said that men "should fight for more."
"I applaud them for that, I honestly do," Djokovic said Sunday. "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.
"As long as it's like that and there is data and stats available upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed."
The 69-year-old Moore, a former touring pro from South Africa, later apologized for his comments that started the controversy before resigning on Monday.
"I think the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) -- you know, in my next life, when I come back, I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men," Moore said Sunday. "They don't make any decisions, and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. 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. They really have."
When Serena Williams was asked about Moore's comments following her loss to Victoria Azarenka in the women's finals, she said, "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."