Should there be equal prize money in tennis?

Novak Djokovic questioned the idea in response to chief executive of Indian Wells Raymond Moore's comments about women's tennis this week

Should there be equal prize money in tennis?

Image: Mark J. Terrill / AP/Press Association Images

World number one Novak Djokovic has questioned the idea of equal prize money in tennis, stating that those who bring in the most viewers and revenue should be rewarded in kind.

The comments come in the wake of views made by Indian Wells chief executive Raymond Moore last week when he said said the women's WTA Tour "ride on the coat-tails of the men".

Moore 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.”

He later apologised for the comments.

Tournament director, Raymond Moore. Image: Mark J. Terrill / AP/Press Association Images

Djokovic said that these comments were not "politically correct" and continued:  "Obviously it's a very delicate situation. Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years.

"I have been through that process as well so I understand how much power and energy WTA and all the advocates for equal prize money have invested in order to reach that.

"I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it."

However, the Serb did go on to defend the use of viewing statistics to determine fair distribution of prizes at joint events.

"On the other hand I think that our men's tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators at the men's tennis matches.

"I think that's one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve.

"As long as it's like that and there is data and stats available upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed."

"I have tremendous respect for what women in global sport are doing and achieving," he added.

"Their bodies are much different to men's bodies. They have to go through a lot of different things that we don't have to go through. You know, the hormones and different stuff, we don't need to go into details.

"I have great admiration and respect for them to be able to fight on such a high level."

Serena Williams did not respond well to Moore's comments. Image: Mark J. Terrill / AP/Press Association Images

Women's number one Serena Williams also responded to Moore's comments after her defeat to Victoria Azerenka, claiming that she doesn't think any female tennis players should be "down on their knees thanking anybody".

"I don't think that is a very accurate statement. I think there is a lot of women out there who are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are very exciting to watch.

"I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.

"Last year the women's final at the US Open sold out well before the men. I'm sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in a final that was sold out before the men's final? I think not.

"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."