Tournament CEO steps down after saying women tennis players should 'get on their knees' and thank men tennis players

Raymond Moore resigned as BNP Paribas tournament director and CEO on Monday night after making a controversial comment about women tennis players.

Moore said women should “get on their knees and thank God” for male players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the sport’s popularity. He said women are “very, very lucky” for the money they make, based on the popularity of men’s tennis.

Moore also said that there are “attractive” prospects in women’s tennis.

Larry Ellison, the BNP Paribar Open owner, said in a statement that Moore was stepping down for his comments.

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore. 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.”

Moore also released a statement, saying (via Deadspin): “I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous. I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologise to all the players and WTA as a whole. We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Ellison continued, “I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success.”

Serena Williams had blasted Moore for his comments, stating, “There’s only one way to interpret that. ‘Get on your knees,’ which is offensive enough, and ‘thank a man’? We, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.”

Novak Djokovic also got himself into hot water for saying he thinks men should make more than women in tennis because they are more popular.

NOW WATCH: New book says the NCAA treats athletes like ‘indentured servants’

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.