Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore makes sexist remarks about women’s tennis
Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore made some sexist comments about women’s tennis players over the weekend before Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka met in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open.
For starters, Moore said that female tennis players “ride the coattails” of their male counterparts and should be thankful athletes like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal came along.
“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, according to The Associated Press. “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.”
Moore, a former pro tennis player who became the CEO of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in 2012, also praised women’s tennis for having “attractive” players.
“I think the WTA have a handful — not just one or two — but they have a handful of very attractive prospects that can assume the mantle,” he said. “You know, [Garbine Muguruza], Genie Bouchard. They have a lot of very attractive players. And the standard in ladies’ tennis has improved unbelievably.”
When asked to specify if he meant competitive attractiveness or physical attractiveness, Moore insisted he was referring to both. He also called Williams “arguably the best female player of all time,” but that didn’t stop her from blasting Moore.
“Yeah, I’m still surprised, especially with me and Venus and all the other women on the tour that’s done well,” she said when asked about Moore’s remarks. “Last year, the women’s final at the US Open sold out well before the men. 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.
“So I just feel like, in order to make a comment, you have to have history, and you have to have facts, and you have to know things. You have to know of everything. I mean, you look at someone like Billie Jean King, who opened so many doors for not only women’s players but women’s athletes in general. So I feel like, you know, that is such a disservice to her and every female — not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet — that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman.”
Victoria Azarenka defeated Williams to win the BNP Paribas Open, and she echoed her opponents thoughts.
“Why can’t we just be happy and enjoy and support each other? Because that’s what the world is missing a little bit,” she said. “It’s the support toward each other. Not just bashing and, oh, who is prettier or who is this, who has more, who has less. Let’s just take care of each other.”
Naturally, Moore later apologized for his comments.
“At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous,” he said. “I am truly sorry for those remarks and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole. We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”
For most, the damage was already done.