The apology was nice and came rather quickly, but the damage was already done. There was no way to misinterpret the remarks Ray Moore, CEO of the Indian Wells tournament, made about women’s tennis. First he called them “lady players” (prompting 1972 to ask for its patronizing phrase back) and then said that the Women’s Tennis Association “rides the coattails of the men.”
“They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky,” he said Sunday morning before the final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. “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.”
Moore later apologized for his comments that were “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.” Too late. By Tuesday he had already stepped down as tournament director.
Women have fought for everything they’ve received, from access to training and tournaments to equal prize money. Nothing was given out of the beneficence of men’s tennis. To suggest that women in tennis have not earned a rightful seat at the table is both ignorant and insulting.