Speed Reads

think before you speak

Serena Williams slams Indian Wells CEO over offensive comments

After Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO Raymond Moore made disparaging remarks about the Women's Tennis Association on Sunday, Serena Williams fired back, calling his comments "a disservice" to such pioneers as Billie Jean King.

During a news conference before the BNP Paribas Open finals, Moore, a 69-year-old former professional tennis player from South Africa, 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," ESPN reports. "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."

Williams, who lost in the final to Victoria Azarenka, called the comments disrespectful to King and "every female — not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet — that has ever tried to stand up for what they believe in and being proud to be a woman." Williams said she doesn't "think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that" and has heard from countless fans that they "don't watch tennis unless they're watching myself or my sister [Venus Williams]." Last year, she continued, the women's final of the U.S. Open "sold out well before the men. I'm sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in that final that was sold out before the men's final? I think not."

Not long after, Moore released an apology, saying his comments about the WTA were "in extremely poor taste and erroneous."