Miami: Top tennis bosses defended prize money equality for men and women Monday while the spectre of an Indian Wells boycott was raised ahead of the ATP and WTA Miami Open.
World number one Serena Williams, a loser in back-to-back finals for the first time since 2004, seeks a fourth consecutive Miami crown and ninth overall while top-ranked Novak Djokovic seeks his sixth Miami title and a record 28th ATP Masters crown.
But turmoil continued across the sport in the wake of disparaging comments about women’s tennis by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore. Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic subsequently fanned the flames of controversy by suggesting that the disparity in pay was justified.
“What a mess,” tweeted women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova. “Moore totally blew it and Novak — really?”
In comments to the BBC, Navratilova raised the notion of a women’s boycott of Indian Wells if Moore kept his job.
“It was really disheartening to see Ray Moore offer the extremely prejudiced and very old-fashioned statements regarding women tennis players,” she said. “We have made it this far on our own, without help from male players, and will continue to do so in the future.
“It would be hard to imagine any women to want to go and play at Indian Wells if Moore stays as the tournament director.”
WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simon on Sunday called Moore’s comments “extremely disappointing and alarming” and added, “The WTA stands on its own and was founded on the principles of equality and empowerment.”
– Kermode, Adams back equity –