Tennis: Novak Djokovic issues apology after prize money controversy


World number one Novak Djokovic has published a statement on Facebook and Twitter, apologising for any offence he might have caused with his remarks about male tennis players deserving more prize money than female players. The remarks were made by Djokovic after having won the Indian Wells final as he was asked to react to previous comments by the tournament director Raymond Moore. Djokovic said ATP players should make more prize money than WTA players.

He said: "I think that our men's tennis world should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators at the men's tennis matches." And that is completely true, ATP matches have significantly more viewers than WTA matches. But he was criticised by several high-profile people, including women's number one Serena Williams: "I wouldn't say my son deserved more money than my daughter because he's a man. It would be shocking," she said. "Novak is entitled to his opinion but if he has a daughter - I think he has a son right now - he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy."

Djokovic's apology does not include a retraction of his opinion: "I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn't of my making. Euphoria and adrenalin after the win on Sunday got the best of me and I've made some comments that are not the best articulation of my view. I would like to clarify them. As you all know, I care deeply about the future of the game and all of the players. Tennis helped me so much in my life. Being where I am today, I felt the need to speak about the fairer and better distribution of funds across the board - this was meant for both men and women. We all have to fight for what we deserve. This was never meant to be made into a fight between genders and differences in pay, but in the way all players are rewarded for their play and effort. Tennis is a sport that I love and that gave me the opportunity to help others who still have a long way to go to achieve their dreams. This was my view all along and I want to apologise to anyone who has taken this the wrong way."

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will prepare to win another Masters 1000 tournament, as the Miami Open kicks off on Wednesday. Djokovic is 8/13 at SkyBet to win the tournament.

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Members Comments

  • Croatia jakablazic

    23/3/16

    He didn't state that men should have bigger prize money, it was taken out of context. Everybody is trying to catch him doing something wrong, just because he is from Serbia. If he was from UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland he would be more respected. Nole has never won fair play award although he certainly deserved. Just see what he did against Tsonga at Indian Wells. In tie-break he admitted that he touched the ball although referee gave point to Nole. The point was than given to Tsonga. He didn't do that at score 62 51, he did it in tiebreak and it went unnoticed.

  • Romania Johnny Karp

    24/3/16

    I don't think it's because he's from Serbia, it's because he is the number one.
    That said, I don't think he had anything to apologise for.

  • United States Markotik

    24/3/16

    What intrigues me is that all newspapers had sensationalistic headlines as if Djokovic explicitly said that men should earn more than women. And that is not true, which is quite clear when you read his "badly articulated" comment. People do prefer men's to women's tennis, and let's face it, the only reason why women's US open final was selling faster was because everyone expected Serena to go through and win all four majors in the same calendar year. With all due respect, but I highly doubt that people wanted to see Vinci vs. Pennetta final.

  • Serbia Milaneli

    24/3/16

    I just don't understand what this thing is all about. He just applied that both men and women tournament price pools should have same about of cash in it. And then media did their thing, making a big story out of nothing. I have to agree with jakablazic and disagree with you Johnny. I do think that in elite sport as tennis they dont like seeing some guy from god-knows-where being so dominate. Also, recenly he "attacked" countries that did NATO agression on Yugoslavia in '99, this might be their payback.

  • Romania Johnny Karp

    25/3/16

    So you think NATO has somehow persuaded Serena Williams or some media outlets to criticize Novak? That's pretty wild.

    I don't believe in conspiracy theories, Nole is a target of media attention because he is the number one tennis player in the world and a global sports superstar.

  • Serbia milo?.sekuli?

    25/3/16

    Haha, they are all trying to get him down and humiliate him. That is so obvious that it becomes funny. First it was a match-fixing scandal , then a love affair with the Indian actress , and now this. Let a man playing tennis, because he is the best ai it.

  • Bulgaria sharpe

    30/3/16

    If your son works more than your daughter he deserves more money Serena ; ) The man's tennis is not only more attractive for the public but a lot more demanding in a physical aspect. The man's matches often are double or triple longer than the women's and I just don't know why they just make women's matches best of 5 sets at least at the Grand slam tournaments which will be more fair toward all players and Serena would not be able to made these biting comments because will be too exhausted after her match to do that ; )

  • Slovenia mannixx

    27/4/16

    I dont know why are they making such a big thing out of nothin. He told the truth, mens tennis is a lot more interesting than womens and there are far more fans on stadiums when men are playining, its far more popular so sponsors probably earn a lot more money when they sponsor men tennis matc so its logical men prices should bi bigger .

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