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Serena Williams sends powerful message to Indian Wells CEO over sexist comments

Serena Williams heard the sexist comments from Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore loud and clear. When it came to her post-final press conference following the BNP Paribas she didn't shy away for calling his statements what they were.

Question: You just shared a beautiful moment on the court with CEO Raymond Moore, and he said earlier today, quote, "If I was a lady player, I would go down on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born. They have carried the sport. What's your reaction to that comment and the controversy it's created?

Serena Williams: Well, I don't understand why I always have to answer questions about controversy like this. Obviously I don't think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that.

I think Venus, myself, a number of players have been — if I could tell you every day how many people say they don't watch tennis unless they're watching myself or my sister, I couldn't even bring up that number. So I don't think that is a very accurate statement.

I think there is a lot of women out there who are more — are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.

Q: Do you feel like there is maybe a misunderstanding behind how people are interpreting that in some way?

Williams: Well, if you read the transcript you can only interpret it one way. I speak very good English. I'm sure he does, too.

You know, there's only one way to interpret that. Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not — we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point.

Q: You have led women, and Venus also, have led women through a lot of struggles. Are you surprised in 2016 that issues and complaints and sexism are still cropping up?

Williams: Yeah, I'm still surprised, especially with me and Venus and all the other women on the tour that's done well. Last year the women's final at the US Open sold out well before the men. I'm sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in that final that was sold out before the men's final? I think not.

So I just feel like in order to make a comment you have to have history and you have to have facts and you have to know things. You have to know of everything. I mean, you look at someone like Billie Jean King who opened so many doors for not only women's players but women athletes in general.

So I feel like, you know, that is such a disservice to her and every female, not only a female athlete, but every woman on this planet that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw it? You said you saw the transcript.

Williams: "Really?"

Q: How did it come to your attention?

Williams: (Laughter) Actually, I love that quote.

How did it come to my attention? Well, unfortunately, you know, sometimes we -- if someone makes irrational comments or if something unfortunate goes on in the sport, you know, everyone hears about it. I'm on social media enough to hear about it.

So, yeah.

h/t @BenRothenberg