The male tennis players are back at it again with the sexist remarks about their female counterparts.
CEO of the Indian Wells Masters tournament Raymond Moore made inept remarks about female tennis players. According to ESPN, Moore said that females tennis players “ride on the coat tails of men” and that they should “go down every night on [their] knees and thank god that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they [men] have carried this sport.” Moore resigned effective immediately the following day.
Members of the tennis community, including Serena Williams and former player Billie Jean King, voiced their anger towards Moore’s comments. It is baffling as to why Moore would make such a bonehead, sexist and demeaning statement as this.
Not only were his comments sexist, but they were also outright disgusting. Saying “getting down on their knees” is a degrading and humiliating comment to make towards any individual, no matter their gender.
Moore was certainly alive and well to remember when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973. King’s triumph in the “Battle of the Sexes” match marked the beginning for female tennis; it opened the floodgates for more females to become respected professional athletes. King proved that women can beat men in physical activities.
Tennis players like Venus and Serena Williams and Martina Navrtilova would carry the torch and become some of the greatest athletes of all time. Serena Williams has been the number one ranked female tennis player for years, winning 21 Grand Slams in singles and 13 in doubles so far in her 23 years of professional tennis.
According to the Guardian, Williams responded to Moore’s comment by stating that many people, “don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister.”
Shortly after Moore’s comments, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic remarked how professional female tennis players should not receive equal prize money because they do not bring in enough spectators compared to the male tennis games.
So what if female tennis games do not bring in enough viewers compared to the men? According to Wimbleton, the 2015 Ladies’ Singles Finals had an audience of 4.3 millions views while the 2015 Gentlemen’s Single Finals had an audience of 9.2 millions views.
How do these numbers determine whether or not women deserve to receive equal prize money as men? Based on Djokovic’s observation, only male tennis players should earn £26.5 million prize money, while female tennis players should not because there are not enough viewers. This dilemma seems more like a broadcasting and marketing issue rather than an issue of female athletes’ inadequacies.
Of all the male tennis players, Djokovic should not be making these belligerent remarks with only 11 Grand Slam titles to his name, compared to Roger Federer’s 17 Grand Slams. Retired tennis player Margaret Court won 24 major titles during her 17 years, followed by retired player Steffi Graf who won 22 in 17 years. Djokovic is still an adolescent in this professional game.
Although Moore’s resignation brings comfort for those who were offended by his comments, it only acts as a band-aid towards a wound that will never heal. Despite female athletes creating names like never before, they are still vulnerable to ignorant and crude comments like Moore and Djokovic. What matters now, despite this verbal setback, is that women continue to prevail in the professional athletic realm.