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Uproar at call for female tennis players to be paid less than male counterparts

Serena Williams, the top-ranked player in women's tennis. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Uproar at call for female tennis players to be paid less than male counterparts

World tennis number one Serena Williams has hit out at comments that risk taking the sport back into the dark ages.

Williams bristled at comments by the tournament director of one of the sport’s most prestigious events that women professionals should get “down” on their “knees” every night to thank some of their male contemporaries.

Raymond Moore the director of the BNP Paribas Open, better known simply as Indian Wells said: “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”.

“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.”

His comments were backed up by men’s number one Novak Djokovic who said men should earn more than women because more people watch them play.

Williams, though, was having none of that.

“I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” Williams told reporters.

“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,” she said.

“So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement. I think there are a lot of women out there who are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways.”

Tennis great Billie Jean King, who fought tirelessly for equality in sports, also tweeted her disapproval with Moore.

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