Andy Murray slams Novak Djokovic, Novak sort of apologizes for sexist comments

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I’ve genuinely enjoyed covering all of the tennis drama this week. These are important issues involving women in sports, feminism, pay equality and the business of sports. The whole controversy started over the weekend when Indian Wells CEO Ray Moore made some very unfortunate and very sexist comments about how male tennis players were carrying the sport, and female players needed to get on their knees and thank God for men like Nadal and Federer. Serena Williams was one of the first players to slam Moore, and wouldn’t you know? Moore resigned as CEO on Monday. Larry Ellison, who owns the BNP Paribas tournament at Indian Wells, basically threw Moore under the bus and reiterated the fact that Indian Wells gives equal prize money to men and women and that’s the way it should be. You can read more about it here. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it.

Before Moore resigned, the #1 male player in the world, Novak Djokovic, said some convoluted and terrible words about the subject – go here to read my recap. Novak talked himself into a corner, talking about hormones and how men’s sports are just more popular. Novak soon realized that he sounded like a douche, because he posted an apology and clarification on his Facebook:

“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.”

[Via ESPN]

I still don’t think he gets it? He’s still basically advocating for different prize money based on interest/media coverage, I think. And for the love of God, just say “I’m sorry,” don’t say “I apologize to anyone who was offended because I said offensive words.”

Anyway, Serena Williams still had some thoughts about Novak, and amazingly, so did Andy Murray. Murray in particular is a feminist and a feminist ally – his mother was his first coach, and Murray is one of the few men on the tour with a female coach now. First, Serena said that Novak was “entitled to his opinion” but “If I had two kids, I would never tell my son or my daughter that one deserves more because of their sex.” Murray reiterated the point that there should be equal prize money across the board, and Murray acknowledged that for many competitions, women are the bigger draw:

“At the US Open last year, the tickets for Serena’s matches were selling out much quicker than the men’s matches… 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 [in Miami], 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 capitalize on that —not just the men’s game.”

[Via Newsweek]

He also expressed confusion over Ray Moore’s original argument, that men are doing more for the game: “Roger and Rafa have been unbelievable for tennis but so has Serena Williams. We should all be thankful for those guys and what they’ve done for the sport. When Serena Williams does great, we also capitalise on that. Someone who’s 70 in the world on the men’s tour also capitalises on that.” Andy Murray is woke, you guys. I love him.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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67 Responses to “Andy Murray slams Novak Djokovic, Novak sort of apologizes for sexist comments”

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  1. QQ says:

    GatDAMN Andy Murray, you Guyses!!

    • Tina says:

      Seriously! He has matured into a thoughtful, kind, intelligent, feminist man. Swooning over here.

    • Crumpet says:

      Indeed.

    • LB says:

      He can be a neurotic nutcase on the court (I’ve always loved that about him although I know others hate it) but man I love him off the court. His mother, his brother, his wife, all of them. I remember loving him ever since I found out he and Nadal had a very serious but very cute video game rivalry. It only grew from there.

    • Alex says:

      Andy Murray is a gem I’ve seen him play before. He’s very very woke

    • C says:

      Everybody keeps talking about Nadal and Federer….Andy is right! Serena is terrific! 21 grand slams! She deserves so much more credit than what they give her for. I lover her.

  2. roxane says:

    Andy, Andy, Andy

    • Devi says:

      When the game is over, his career finished, what kind of man will he be called – a honorable one.

      • Tina says:

        I fell in love with him when he gave a really revealing interview to the BBC. They asked him about the Dunblane shootings (he was a small boy and it was his school, he was there) and he teared up, clutched his dogs and simply couldn’t speak about it. You could really see how it had affected him.

  3. Oli says:

    Novak Looks like the roadrunner cartoon.

    I hate when people sort of apogolgize. This is so stupid why if you’re going to make a comment like that stick by that comment or if you “feel” you’ve done something wrong then why not apologize completely. He should have stuck by his comment, know I have absolutely no respect for him.

  4. swak says:

    What kind of apology was that? He said nothing new and still has the opinion men should make more than women in tennis. Sorry, but his statement was not taken in the wrong way.

    • B says:

      It was written and distributed by and from his PR rep., mgmt team or agent, verbatim…not from him… (imo), what a dick

    • Kat says:

      I believe Novak’s “apology” can be summarized as “sorry, not sorry…but please keep supporting my work, I’ve become accustomed to this lifestyle.” What an @$$hole!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Damn Andy. To the point. No word salad. Novak, you reading this.

  6. OrigialTessa says:

    It’s almost like #Oscarssowhite. Maybe we should be looking at why the women’s game is suffering. Look into building it up and making it better. Have the sponsors and the networks and the promoters do their jobs and make the women, these fabulous female athletes who are the best in the world at their sport, shine as brightly as the men. Instead it’s like they put all the eggs into the men these past 10 years and built up the rivalries and the drama in the men’s league, and left the women to pick up the scraps.

    • Devi says:

      Yes, I’d like to see more promotion of Women’s golf as well as basketball, both historically “mens” sports. Some of the ladies are far more interesting players, as they use/bring finesse not just brute strength to their games.

      It’s all about promotion. For god’s sake, people bought pet rocks in the ’70′s! A good PR firm could easily sell women’s sports to the masses.

  7. Illyra says:

    I’ve always loved Andy Murray.

  8. Karen says:

    Don’t the women also get put on the smaller courts during tournaments? As men get the center one more often than not? So wouldn’t the smaller courts sell less tickets as less seats? So who ever is in the smaller court more often is obviously bringing in less money.

    Or is that wrong? I’m not a tennis watcher.

    • Lisa says:

      and Men get the prime tv slots. And then they have the balls to complain that this favoritism means they are less well paid than women. And then they say Sorry-Not-Sorry.

    • LB says:

      Depends on the tournament and the players playing. Even those on the upper echelons of men’s tennis can get put on smaller courts if it’s something like the US Open and Serena is playing, or if a French woman is playing at the French Open. I don’t have the stats on ticket sales but I do know Serena is a big draw at the US Open.

      Murray is 100% right. It varies day to day, tournament to tournament, player to player. Which is why sweeping statements from the No 1 men’s player are completely unwarranted and nonsensical.

  9. Sixer says:

    Andy Murray is one of the good guys. He comes from a good place and he pays attention. Used to bad press as he is, he got a big wake-up/shock at the reporting when he first started working with Mauresmo. He saw all this shiznit in action and is applying the understanding going forward. I do love him.

  10. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Fun fact: You get equality where you put equality. If you’re making excuses for why you’re not treating someone equally then you do not want equality.

  11. Jaded says:

    I disagree with those who are equating the number of bums in seats or the size of the court with how much female tennis players should be paid. They should be paid on the excellence of their game, on their talent, not on who sells more tickets.

    Novak, siddown and shut your stupid piehole.

  12. greenmonster says:

    I read his “apology” last night on Facebook. People were posting that the media should apologize to him because his words were totally taken out of context. I couldn’t find any word in his statement were he even said that his words were taken out of context. He said something about exhaustion and adrenaline has gotten the best of him or so. Men and women were slamming media outlets for wrongful coverage of the story. And sadly lots of people agreed with what he said and some were so disrespectful towards people who called him out on his sexism.
    Quite often I want to smash my head against a wall when people start a conversertion about about sexcism, racism, misogyny etc., because the backlash is often so strong and ugly that it does not leave much hope for the future.

    • senna says:

      I read his original interview. In the interview, it was apparent that he was rambling in a stream-of-consciousness manner about women in tennis, and his thoughts were an instinctive reaction to the question rather than a cogent piece of argumentation. The most inflammatory sentiment – that men should fight for more money too – seemed like it was a backhanded compliment to the WTA higher-ups who negotiated equal prize money for women in the tournaments. I didn’t find his words super offensive, but realized that he’d offered up enough soundbites to bait misogynists who actually think women deserve less pay because of whatever.

      Does he get a pass for this? NO. You do not wade into commenting on the status of any minority without educating yourself, and this debate is no exception. Novak knows how tennis works-from his perspective as a man- but he doesn’t grasp how gender politics works. Saying “I have a wife, I had a woman coach,” aren’t enough. And you’re right – for all the people saying his words are unacceptable, we have at least as much horrible backlash against women and feminists for daring to think badly of a successful man because of his words, or who actually do think women are lesser.

      Tennis is such an anomaly in professional sport. It’s the one sport I can think of where the women’s game has just-about-equal status to the men’s game and where women’s sport is viewed on TV right alongside men’s sport, where the female and male stars are (ideally) equally famous and respected. Can you imagine if this were the case for hockey, basketball, football? Of course, tennis is not perfect and these comments blow the issue wide open for all to see, for the better, I think.

  13. Maum says:

    Women’s tennis has always attracted viewers. I remember as a child the Navratilova-Evert rivalry.

    Then we had the awesome Steffi, Monica Seles and of course the Williams sisters.

    Murray is dead on point and I am glad Novak has reminded me why I never liked him. He’s had better PR since his whiny retiring-in-the-middle-of-matches-he-knew-he-was-never-going-to-win days but this proves he’s really an arsehole.
    His argument is so disingenuous. For years men have earned way more than women in tennis. Now that it’s equal (for some players and some tournaments) mr multi-millionaire is now sulking?
    Please.

    • Lisa says:

      Best matches I ever saw at Wimbledon? Capriati vs Sabatini semi Final/ Sanchez vs Graff final.

  14. Cee says:

    We don’t like Novak in our house, we always cheer against him, especially when playing against Federer. I used to be lukewarm with Murray, but that has changed now. I’ll definitely watch his games. And if the new faces of men’s tennis are Novak and Murray, then I hope Murray turns out to be the new Federer.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      We always cheer for Novak in our house ( neighbours FTW), and he usually seems like such a great guy, and funny on the court ( he reminds me a bit of Ivanišević) but man, he should have kept his mouth shut.

      When it comes to ability, Đoković is a much better player than Murray.

      I never liked Federer, always liked Nadal better.

      • Cee says:

        Oh, Novak is a wonderful player in terms of technique, there’s no denying that. I just don’t like him and his stropping attitude. I love Nadal and was sad to see him lose his streak… I hope he makes a comeback.

    • Kat says:

      Ha ha, you sound like my mom. She can’t stand Novak and always roots for the ‘other guy’ (although Federer, Nadal and Murray are all pretty damn wonderful IMO). I get the sense that if Novak were playing against Pee-wee Herman my mom would still cheer on the later because apparently anyone is better than “blech, Djokovic”… yeah, my mom doesn’t hide her feelings :D

      • Cee says:

        hahaha your mum sounds just like my brother! He’s the tennis super fan, he watches EVERYTHING.

    • Luca76 says:

      Yeah I’ve always thought Novak was a jerk. Albeit a talented one. I never root for him.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        I, for the life of me, don’t understand how someone could not like Novak. After his comments, I kinda get it, but still, he’s by far the most charming one out of the big 3.

      • Luca76 says:

        Nope always hated him he comes off as being an egotistical jerk and fake.

        I have a collegue that’s worked the U.S. Open several times and he’s basically said most of the tennis pros are jerks. The one exception he’s ever made is Federer who is according to him uncommonly nice and a true class act.

      • Maum says:

        I don’t like Novak because when he started his career he had this habit of retiring in games he knew/felt he couldn’t win- or he would call the trainer for an ‘injury’ to disrupt the match.
        I remember it drove commentators crazy in the UK- they felt it was a huge lack of respect towards his opponents.

        I never found him charming in any way. I don’t like Rafa’s game but Rafa is always super polite off court. Murray is a bit rough round the edges but having heard him talk about Dunblane and cry after losing at Wimbledon I feel he is v genuine.

        And no comparison to Ivanisevic. Goran was unpredictable and crazy but far more attacking and entertaining as a player than Novak. And much more genuine as a person.

      • ls_boston says:

        I don’t understand Novak’s appeal. I understand that he has a fan-base that I had assumed was all Serbian but perhaps not; I just don’t understand his appeal. His whinging, stroppy behaviour is not yet a distant memory and I never found his court antics to be particularly charming given said stroppy behaviour.
        His current mouth-flapping is par for him.
        Now, I’m a huge Fed fan and am soaking in the last few days of Fed-glory before it passes from sight forever. I’ve not been a huge fan of Rafa’s playing because it seems so violent that my knees hurt watching him hound his ball around the court and i’ve watched him play from behind clenched fists as I always expected something to give way; but I’ve always always liked his general approach to fans, players and the sport in general. Murray was much lower on the list of men to watch but he rises rapidly in esteem methinks.

      • Cee says:

        @Maum – ITA. That’s one of the reasons we don’t like him. We do not like whiners and it’s one of the reasons we love Federer – that man keeps on playing regardless of the outcome.

        Murray might be more blunt and what not, but he seems to be sensible and I much rather hear him talk than Novak, whose fame has gotten the better of him – he is annoying.

      • Pepper says:

        Some of us remember his terrible sportsmanship when winning or losing, his history of retiring with an injury regularly when he was losing, his family’s absolutely vile behavior that he supported, and just his general douchebagginess.

        I don’t really find him charming, when he’s not playing the class clown for attention he comes off quite cold and full of himself. Federer’s pretty dull and also extremely full himself, but never mean like Novak. Rafa’s actually pretty charming, but way less attention-hungry than those two. I find Murray much more quick-witted than Novak, but he’s also kind of a dullard strangely.

  15. Lilacflowers says:

    Good job, Andy!

    Novak needs to go have a little chat with Martins Navatorola about carrying the sport. Her comments on this have been fascinating.

  16. anna2222222 says:

    I’ve always hated Andy Murray… But I think I just changed my mind. What a great attitude. I really want to say how incredible I think Serena is in her response to this. That woman seems to spend half her life patiently and respectfully schooling idiots and still finds time to be the best athlete in the goddamn world.

  17. Pepper says:

    That’s a rather major departure from Murray, he’s always and recently been very open about the fact that he thinks the mens players should be paid more.

    • Maum says:

      Maybe having a female coach and a daughter has changed his mind?

      • Pepper says:

        He made comments about men being paid more long after he hired Mauresmo as his coach, and I’m fairly sure he supported it again just a couple of months back.

      • Loubylou says:

        Utter nonsense. Murray has never said anything so sexist.

      • Sixer says:

        Pepper: can you look that out and give us a link? I follow Murray quite closely and I’ve never read anything like that from him. Quite the opposite.

      • Joaneu says:

        Andy has been outspoken for pay equality for quite some time now, even before the subject was highlighted at Wimbledon a couple of years back.
        Gilles Simon is the worst offender when it comes to making sexist comments. He is an utter embarrassment to the French team.

    • Pepper says:

      http://en.espn.co.uk/tennis/sport/story/235385.html

      He’s made those comments again and again over the years, especially in pressers. Far more than any of the other top men’s players (most of the other guy’s who consistently complain about equal pay have rarely if ever cracked the top 10) he’s been a proponent of women playing best of 5 or accepting reduced prize money. He also talks regularly about how the men’s players and women’s players are on completely different levels. Which I don’t actually disagree with, but this is a rather sudden turn-around.

  18. Pandy says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Andy Murray but I am now!

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I don’t know who any of these people are except Serena, but I loved what he said.

  19. Jess says:

    Yay Andy!

  20. ExistingisExhausting says:

    HONK

  21. funcakes says:

    I’m unable to understand how people running a major corporation can just make broad,idiotic statements that are made in the day and time.
    I would figure that the number one rule of Business 101 is never alienate the clientele.
    For someone to announce that if you’re gay,female, full figured or non white that we are not in need of your business because you’re a non entity is ludicrous and destructive.
    Most important of all who would hire people like this? This can’t be the first time that man has voiced his opinion about women? So does this mean they advocate these people spewing narrow minded,out of date thoughts until they make a fool of themselves in front of the media?

  22. wolf says:

    this is ridiculous .Novak is punished for speaking truth.it seems feminists want less work,equal pay.

  23. msw says:

    I am a HUGE embarassingly large Andy Murray fan. As much as people love to give him grief for being stroppy on court, he seems like a genuinely good guy and he is a advocate for honesty and integrity in the sport. Great job, Andy. Proud to be a long time fan :)

  24. Maum says:

    ‘less work’? They still train the same hours and sacrifice the same to pursue their careers.

    Not to mention a lot of men’s tournaments are now down to best of three sets.

    • Lisa says:

      As far as I know, the men only play best of 5 at the slams (four tournaments a year) and Davis Cup (which does not, as far as I know, involve prize money — you play for your country, not for yourself). I forget if the men play best of 3 or best of 5 at the Olympics, but again, no prize money there, and it’s only every four years. The men used to play best of 5 at the year-end tour finals, but I’ve been watching that tournament for years, and it’s been best of 3 for a while now.

      • msw says:

        Best of three at Olys, and you’re right – best of five is only at the four slams and the Davis Cup ties.

  25. Beth says:

    HONK FOR ANDY AND HARRY.
    Happy easter you lovely people.

  26. Lisa says:

    I’ve closely followed tennis, both men’s and women’s, for 15+ years, and I agree with Andy. It goes back and forth in terms of which side is more popular and which side has the more exciting rivalries/players to watch. I have to say, watching him on court can get on my nerves, but I really admire his off-court demeanor.