Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore Makes Controversial Comments on WTA

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent III

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 18:  Serena Williams of USA reacts after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in straight sets during day twelve of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 18, 2016 in Indian Wells, California.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Indian Wells Masters has fostered an exceptional showcase for the biggest stars in men's and women's tennis. Tournament co-founder and Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore certainly didn't make any friends in the WTA with his inflammatory remarks Sunday, though.

Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times reported Moore implied the ATP's modern legends have carried the sport and contribute the vast majority to the game's popularity:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore's remarks this morning not likely to delight the WTA, its players, or fans: https://t.co/56zSV0SK2X

Some may label those words as misogynistic, and it's not as though Moore was subtle in his criticism of the WTA.

Moore later apologized, per Rothenberg:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

A hasty apology from Raymond Moore, on his "extremely poor taste and erroneous" comments from hours ago. https://t.co/I4u935JRjJ

On Monday, ATP executive chairman and president Chris Kermode responded to Moore's comments:

ATP World Tour @ATPWorldTour

ATP Statement Regarding Raymond Moore's Comments & Equal Prize Money https://t.co/LT1lAlvt4X

This probably wasn't the best move on the CEO's part considering the history associated with Indian Wells and the biggest star in women's tennis.

Serena Williams only returned to the venue last year after boycotting since 2001 because of alleged racism among the California crowds. Williams nearly pulled off a calendar-year Grand Slam last season before bowing out in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, and she has won 21 major singles titles in her epic career.

Although Moore did acknowledge Williams as one of the best players of all time, he didn't acquit himself well when looking toward the future, per Rothenberg:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

More from Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore this morning, further down his remarks: https://t.co/nXNATitvrR

Jonathan Scott of Tennis.com provided Williams' response to Moore's comments:

Jonathan Scott @jonscott9

Serena, in press, on Raymond Moore's remarks (1/2) #BNPPO16 via @ESPNTennis https://t.co/ROhf5iLKzn

Jonathan Scott @jonscott9

Serena on Raymond Moore's comments re: #WTA (2/2) #BNPPO16 via @ESPNTennis https://t.co/Xft052SALS

After deciding to return and compete at Indian Wells, Williams' faith was rewarded Sunday by one of the tournament's most significant public figures essentially diminishing the significance of her accomplishments.

Williams lost in the Indian Wells final 6-4, 6-4 to a resurgent Victoria Azarenka, a former world No. 1 whose comeback is also an intriguing WTA storyline.

While it’s fine to praise Federer and Nadal for being a positive influence on tennis, outright dismissing how women’s players have shaped the sport will no doubt prove controversial.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.