serena williams shuts down sexist tennis commentators
Last weekend, Indian Wells tournament CEO, Raymond Moore, sparked controversy when he described female tennis players as riding "on the coat-tails of the men". "If I was a lady player," he remarked to BBC, "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". Earlier today, Moore left his position over the comments.
Things started to look up, however, when Novak Djokovic, the number one ranked tennis player in the world, jumped to female players' defence, describing Moore's comments as "not politically correct" and commending women in their fight for equal pay. "Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing," he told the BBC, "I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it". So far so good. It was when he started encouraging men "to fight for more", however, that the sexist penny finally dropped. "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 on the men's tennis matches." Oh dear.
But then in swooped Serena Williams, champion tennis player, sexist comment slayer and queen of everything to shut these commentators down. "There's only one way to interpret that. 'Get on your knees,' which is offensive enough, and 'thank a man'?" she told The New York Times, "We, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point". And then she did the coolest thing, like ever. Armed with the knowledge that it her Grand Slam bid at last year's U.S. Open. that caused tickets to sell out way before the men's final (a first in tennis history), she asked the following: "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." #Nailed it.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Jimmy Baikovicius