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By Erik Gudris | Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Novak Djokovic met with tennis greats Billie Jean King and Chris Evert in Miami to discuss his recent comments about equal pay in the pro game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic met with tennis legends Billie Jean King and Chris Evert in Miami to discuss the continuing debate over equal prize money in pro tennis.

Djokovic met in private with the tennis icons for 30 minutes to discuss his recent comments on equal pay before his scheduled pre-event press conference.

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After winning the Indian Wells tournament, Djokovic made remarks in response to former event CEO Raymond Moore saying earlier that women players “ride on the coattails” of the men players. Djokovic’s own comments caused controversy and despite a follow-up Facebook post to clarify them, the Serbian star later backtracked and added more clarification.

"When I say about the distribution of the wealth and when I say about growth of the sport, I don't make any difference amongst the gender," Djokovic said Wednesday per the AP. “My beliefs are completely in line with gender equality and equal opportunities. We are all part of the same sport and we all contribute in our own unique and special ways."

Evert and King addressed the topic on their own in a press conference. Evert herself feels that some of Djokovic’s earlier comments were based, in part, on his cultural upbringing.

“I think a lot of the comments are cultural, too," Evert said. "I doubt you hear that as much from the American men's tennis players and I'm sort of applauding the Americans for that. I think the Europeans, sorry, later on took a cue from the Americans and I think Americans accepted equality on a lot of different levels earlier than Europe did."

King, who helped found the WTA Tour, herself said it was time to move on and not dwell on comments made by either Moore or Djokovic.

"I've known Ray (Moore) since the 1960s when I used to go to South Africa when there was apartheid and he really helped fight for that, and so I always appreciate the good that Ray's done and I think he's sorry for what he said," King said. “I think we need to put this behind him because no one's perfect. I know I've made some real boo-boos in my life, so I really appreciate when people forgive me and say let's move on. I think we need to really to not worry about it and Ray, but I think it's important to have the dialogue open and how can we make a difference.”

Djokovic, Evert, and King later posed for pictures together that each posted on Twitter.

Djokovic, who enters as defending champion in Miami, is scheduled to play his opening round match this weekend.


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