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Indian Wells director Raymond Moore quits after backlash against claims criticising women's tennis

ABC News ABC News 22/03/2016
Indian Wells faced a possible boycott over tournament boss Raymond Moore's (R) comments on pay for women's tennis players. © AFP/Getty Images: Julian Finney Indian Wells faced a possible boycott over tournament boss Raymond Moore's (R) comments on pay for women's tennis players.

Raymond Moore, the embattled tennis tournament director at Indian Wells, has resigned effective immediately following a backlash against his comments over pay for women players.

Moore caused a huge controversy on Monday (AEDT) when he said that "lady players" were riding on the coat-tails of men's tennis, and added that if he was a female player, he would "go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport."

World men's number one Novak Djokovic then added to the controversy, calling for the men's tour to fight for more money, saying data showed they attracted more spectators.

However players including women's world number one Serena Williams spoke out against Moore's statements, raising speculation about a boycott of the tournament next year if he was still in charge.

Indian Wells tournament owner, Larry Ellison, released a statement on Tuesday (AEDT), confirming the move.

"Earlier today, I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore," Ellison said.

"Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.

"Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis.

"Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved.

"I'm proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men."

Ellison went on to thank "all the great women athletes" who fought in pursuit of equal prize money.

"All of us here at [Indian Wells] promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody," he said.

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