Djokovic backs off money re­marks af­ter Serena, Mur­ray fire

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

World num­ber one No­vak Djokovic backed off com­ments that men's ten­nis play­ers should make more than women on Tues­day as Serena Wil­liams and Andy Mur­ray led a sting­ing cho­rus of crit­i­cism at the re­marks.

A fu­ri­ous row over the gen­der pay gap in ten­nis erupted at the week­end, when In­dian Wells tour­na­ment di­rec­tor Ray­mond Moore said women should get "on their knees" to thank male play­ers for money in the sport.

Moore was forced to apol­o­gize be­fore re­sign­ing late on Mon­day. Djokovic fu­eled the con­tro­versy how­ever af­ter stat­ing that he be­lieved the pay gap was jus­ti­fied, adding that women go through "hor­mones and dif­fer­ent stuff". Wil­liams, who has won 21 Grand Slam sin­gles crowns to 11 for Djokovic, con­demned the Serbian star's re­marks on Tues­day.

"It has been, I would say dis­ap­point­ing," Wil­liams said. "I wouldn't say my son de­served more money than my daugh­ter be­cause he's a man. It would be shock­ing."

Djokovic has a 17-month-old son, Stefan, but Wil­liams openly won­dered how he would ex­plain him­self to a fu­ture daugh­ter. "He's en­ti­tled to his opin­ion," Wil­liams said. "If he had a daugh­ter, he has a son right now, he should talk to his daugh­ter and say, more money than you.'

"I would never use sex to com­pare. We have so many great play­ers, men and women, who have brought so much vi­sion to the sport. Ev­ery ath­lete works ex­tremely hard.

"If I had a son and a daugh­ter I would never tell them one de­serves more be­cause of their sex." Bri­tain's Mur­ray even noted Djokovic's no­tion that men should re­ceive less than women if their matches were less well at­tended, cit­ing an ex­am­ple of how many would show up to watch who if Wil­liams and Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovski each had a match in a tick­eted ses­sion. "I think there should be equal pay 100 per cent," Mur­ray said.

"The whole thing doesn't stand up. It de­pends on the matches day by day. The men's game has had some great ri­val­ries for the past few years. The whole of ten­nis should strengthen from that, not just the men's game."

Djokovic later is­sued a state­ment on Face­book, of­fer­ing a qual­i­fied apol­ogy for his com­ments, which he said had been made while he was af­fected by the "eu­pho­ria and adrenalin" of his win at In­dian Wells. "I've made some com­ments that are not the best ar­tic­u­la­tion of my view, and I would like to clar­ify them," Djokovic said.

'Your brother de­serves

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