UPDATE: Ray Moore has stepped down.
Serves BNP Paribas Open tournament director and CEO Raymond Moore right for his vile comments about the women's game that his men's final would be an embarrassing romp
(I think of Vika as the Madonna of tennis: I never question her talent, hard work and utter dedication. But her public persona is so achingly awkward and self-conscious that I just want to cringe every time she opens her mouth.)Moore's comments -- which included that women's professional players "ride on the coattails of the men" and that if he was a "lady player" he'd "go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born" -- were widely condemned (Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Patrick McEnroe, the ATP), but it was Serena herself who really didn't shy away from just how gross they were:
"Obviously 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 have been -- 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. I think there is a lot of women out there who are more -- 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. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate."
When asked if she thought there was a misunderstanding to his words perhaps, she made it clear she did not.
"Well, if you read the transcript you can only interpret it one way. I speak very good English. I'm sure he does, too. You know, there's only one way to interpret that. Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not -- we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point."
Williams' comments made what was already a social media firestorm a full-on four-alarm fire. Many decried what Moore said, others said he should fire or resign immediately. (Hear! Hear!)
NOTE: Yes, I took a dig up there at the WTA, which is going through a rough patch. But as Chris Evert says, the men's and women's games do go through cycles. Think about Lleyton Hewitt being number one while the Williams sisters, Capriati, Davenport and the up-and-coming Belgians were on the scene. And that's just one example. And frankly, if you're not a Novak fanaddict, these past couple years have been pretty miserable for the men's game.
ATP Statement Regarding Raymond Moore's Comments & Equal Prize Money
P.S. Yeah, I know Novak Djokovic really stepped in it on this. It sounds like he "meant well," but we all know prefacing a statement with that means they f**ked up big time.