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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Novak Djokovic issues statement in response to controversy

Novak Djokovic celebration

Novak Djokovic issued a statement on his Facebook page Tuesday to address a controversy caused by his comments about gender and equal pay.

The world No. 1-ranked tennis player responded to the Indian Wells CEO’s sexist remarks about women riding the coattails of men. Djokovic said men deserve a greater share of prize money at combined events currently because metrics show they are bigger draws. Many took his statement to mean that Djokovic thinks men deserve more money because they are men. That obviously led to tons of negative publicity and responses.

Djokovic posted this statement on Facebook as a clarification:

Dear all,
I typically use this page to share my excitement with you, especially after big wins.

But this time I had to take a few deep breaths before addressing you. As you may have seen, I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn’t of my making. Euphoria and adrenalin after the win on Sunday got the best of me and I’ve made some comments that are not the best articulation of my view, and I would like to clarify them.

As you all know, I care deeply about the future of the game and all of the players. 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 is not necessarily backing down from his position; he is just trying to clarify things. What got cut out of his comments were that he feels the split of money should be based on metrics such as fan interest. He even said if it’s shown women are more popular, they should get a greater share of prize money than men.

Even with his clarification, that problem won’t stop someone like Serena Williams from smacking him down and thinking he’s sexist. I explain in more detail here why he is not.

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