Cape Town - The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Thursday praised the Women Tennis Association (WTA) for its swift action following remarks uttered by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore.
Moore, a former South African tennis star, quit under heavy fire on Monday after he said women players owe their success to men, sparking a furious gender row that has divided the sport.
"Moore's sexist and outrageous remarks are an embarrassment that the world tennis fraternity and sport followers in general will take a long time to forget. They are an insult to great athletes like Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Venus Williams and Martina Navratilova who have dominated women tennis in recent years," SANCO national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said in condemning sexism in sport.
Mahlangu says Moore’s blunder calls for sport bodies and sponsors of other sporting codes in the country to reflect whether their treatment of female athletes is not reflective of his attitude.
"We call on them to take immediate appropriate corrective action to entrench non-sexism, equality and empowerment," he said.
"In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men," Moore had told reporters, referring to the organisation that runs the women's game.
"They don't make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I'd go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have."
Mahlangu welcomed WTA CEO Steve Simon's reaction that his association has no tolerance for these kind of statements
Simon had said that they are in breach of the WTA Code of Conduct and the board will review them accordingly.
He said that he is proud of all the strong athletes on the WTA who put in hard work and sacrifice every single day.
"Tennis as a whole is enriched by the contributions and accomplishments of every player, both female and male," Simon said.