Miami - World number two Andy Murray and Ukraine's 115th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky had a heated Twitter exchange over gender equity in tennis prize money as the controversy took center stage at the Miami Open.
The debate began with disparaging remarks about women's tennis from Raymond Moore, the Indian Wells tournament director who resigned Monday.
World number one Novak Djokovic fanned the flames by saying the ATP should push for more money because men's matches draw more spectators, a notion that brought criticism from several top players, including Murray and 21-time women's Grand Slam champion and world number one Serena Williams.
Murray said many more people at Wimbledon would watch Britain's Laura Robson than Stakhovsky in pushing for equal prize money, prompting a Twitter response from the Ukraine player.
"Thanks for mentioning me tday need some attention," Stakhovsky tweeted to Murray. "Although ur argument fails the moment we leave UK territory."
"As soon as we leave uk territory more people are watching you than Laura? Really?" Murray replied.
"The venue in Kiev is ready," Stakhvsky tweeted. "All you need to do is convince Laura to come."
That's when Murray invoked a 2006 Davis Cup match Britain played in Ukraine, when he won a meeting between the two to seal a British triumph.
"I played you in a Davis cup match in Ukraine and there must have been a thousand people there max!" Murray recalled.
"You saw any empty seats?" Stakhovsky asked.
"How many empty seats were there serge?" Murray replied. "I wasn't counting, was focusing on getting the W."
Stakhovsky cited an article noting that law school graduates from Ivy League colleges make more than those with degrees from other universities.
"I've read the article and still don't get it!" Murray responded. "I thought you were suggesting that someone who goes to a better university should get a better job than someone who goes to a less prestigious university but then realised that would be ridiculous!??
"And which ivy league school did you go to? or you saying men's tennis is ivy league and women's tennis is average school?"
Murray has a first-round bye at Miami and will open Saturday against either Croatia's Borna Coric or Uzbek Denis Istomin.
The 28-year-old Scotsman and his wife Kim became parents last month to daughter Sophia. Murray said he has shifted workouts to earlier in the day to have more free time in afternoons and evenings.
Asked about adjusting to changing diapers and life as a father, Murray said, "It has been good. I've enjoyed it so far."
Murray and his wife will have some help caring for the baby during the Miami fortnight from his mother-in-law.