Novak Djokovic backs off gender gap prize money remarks

World number one Novak Djokovic backed off remarks about men’s tennis players deserving more prize money than their female counterparts in a statement posted on social media.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion from Serbia made his controversial comments on Sunday in the wake of his victory over Milos Raonic in the Indian Wells final.

Asked to react to sexist comments by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, who resigned on Monday night, Djokovic said ATP players should make more prize money than their WTA counterparts.

That ignited a raging controversy that saw several top players criticise Djokovic on Tuesday during the opening day of play at the ATP and WTA Miami Open.

In turn, Djokovic tried to squelch the raging controversy with a posting on Twitter and Facebook, saying he apologized to anyone who was offended by his remarks while not retracting his comments.

“I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn’t of my making,” Djokovic 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.”