Andy Murray puts tennis star who is opposed to equal pay on the spot on Twitter
Novak Djokovic's claim that male players deserve more money than their female counterparts because their ticket sales and viewing figures are superior has provoked a withering response from Serena Williams and long-time rival Andy Murray.
Williams's response has been particularly embarrassing for Djokovic after she urged the Serb to explain to children why male players should get paid more.
“It has been disappointing,” Williams said. “If I have a daughter who plays tennis and also have a son that plays tennis, I wouldn’t say that my son deserves more because he is a man. If they both started at three years old I would say they both deserve the same amount of money.
“I have been playing since the age of two and it would be shocking to say my son would deserve more than my daughter. It is irrelevant. 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.
“It all boils down to that. I would never put a sex against another sex. I think it’s unfair to compare, we have had so many great women champions and players who have brought such great vision to the sport. There have been great men players too, but women’s tennis is the biggest sport for women – period. Men’s tennis is not the biggest sport for them but it’s still huge. You do have soccer, football, basketball. Everyone works really hard. Once again, it all boils down to how you’d explain it to your kids.”
Murray echoed Williams's views, while also putting Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who opposes equal pay, on the spot. Stakhovsky took to Twitter to argue his case for men getting paid more, comparing the men's tour to the Ivy League and the women's tour to "any other university" and suggesting that someone in the latter should and will get paid more.
@andy_murray long story.Thanks for mentioning me with tdayneed some attention.. Although ur argument fails the moment we leave UK territory— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) March 23, 2016
@Stako_tennis as soon as we leave uk territory more people are watching you than Laura? Really?— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2016
@andy_murray the venue in Kiev is ready , all you need to do is convince Laura to come .— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) March 23, 2016
@Stako_tennis I played you in a Davis cup match in Ukraine and there must have been a thousand people there max!— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2016
@andy_murray you saw any empty seats??— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) March 23, 2016
@Stako_tennis but seriously explain about the university please.. Didn't quite understand where you were goin with that— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2016
@andy_murray if you go to the article it started from , u will understand .— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) March 23, 2016
@Stako_tennis should get a better job than someone who goes to a less prestigious university but then realised that would be ridiculous!— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2016
@Stako and which ivy league school did you go to? or you saying men'stennis is ivy league and women's tennis is average school?— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2016
On the subject of Djokovic, the Scot said: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can have different views.
“One of the things Novak said was that if women are selling more seats and tickets they should make more but at a tournament like this, for example, if Serena is playing on centre court and you have a men’s match with Stakhovsky playing, people are coming to watch Serena. The crowds are coming to watch the women as well. The whole thing just doesn’t stack up – it changes on a day-to‑day basis depending on the matches you get.
“Men’s tennis has been lucky over the last nine or 10 years with the players they’ve had, the rivalries which have come out of that. That’s great but the whole of tennis should capitalise on that – not just the men’s game. I have no idea of the meetings that go on and the discussions which are had. The slams are probably less complicated to figure out.”
Djokovic has since apologised for the sexism row he sparked by saying "euphoria and adrenalin" had got the better of him following his victory last weekend in the BNP Paribas Final at Indian Wells in California.
"I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn’t of my making," he said. "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, and 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 and 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 apologize to anyone who has taken this the wrong way."