Raymond Moore, the former CEO and tournament director of Indian Wells, completely stepped in it recently after he said female tennis players should “go down every night on [their] knees” and thank male tennis players for the sport’s popularity.
“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. “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.”
Of course, Moore’s comments didn’t sit well with tennis players or fans, and the 69-year-old was forced to resign.
When asked about Moore’s comments, Serena Williams–the best tennis player in the world–kept it cute.
“I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” Williams said. “I think Venus, myself, a number of players — 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.”
Though Moore tried to claim his comments did not have sexual undertones, Williams wasn’t having it.
“There’s only one way to interpret that,” she said. “ ‘Get on your knees,’ which is offensive enough, and ‘thank a man’? We, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.”
Williams continued: “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,” she said. “So, I feel like 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, being proud to be a woman.”
You tell ’em, Queen Serena!