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By Ros Satar in Indian Wells

  • Novak Djokovic [1] def. Milos Raonic [12] 6-2 6-0
  • Djokovic pulled into the controversy regarding CEO Raymond Moore’s comments

INDIAN WELLS, USA – Injury struck Milos Raonic once more at a key moment, as he was trounced by Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

After having looked impressive throughout the tournament, it was immensely frustrating for Raonic to struggle once more with injury in a key match. He was playing his first tournament since struggling with an adductor injury in a taut five-setter against Andy Murray in the Australian Open semi-final.

Djokovic had not had an easy ride, dropping a set at the start of the tournament to Bjorn Fratangelo, but his level of play against Rafael Nadal in the semi-final had made it easy to suggest that match had been the de-facto final.

Nullifying Raonic’s serve was key as he broke Raonic twice before the Canadian was finally able to get on the board. But by then the troubles were starting for Raonic, who admitted a few games in he was beginning to feel troubled.

He said, after the match: “I don’t think it affected my effort. I thought he played much better than I did. I struggled again, just like last time, to start the match well, and then he’s the best player in the world at this moment and a good step ahead of everybody. He took the most advantage of that.”

Admitting that he felt he needed to work harder, is perhaps half the answer. Raonic still attaches most of his strategy around his serve, but if an injury prevents him from putting that power into executing his best shot, he needs to come up with another measure. But for now it is back to the drawing board.

With this win, Djokovic now has won a record fifth Indian Wells title, and drawn level with Rafael Nadal with 27 ATP World Tour Masters titles, and it looks like his dominance at the top of the rankings looks set to continue.

But for all the fanfare, the fall out from the Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore hit Djokovic too as he tried to comment as neutrally as possible, and yet somehow invited even more commentary.

When asked specifically about his quotes about women needed to ‘get on their knees and thank god’ for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, he said:

“I don’t know what to say. I heard about it. Obviously it’s a very delicate and sensitive subject to talk about. Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years. I have been through that process, as well, so I understand how much power and energy WTA and all the advocates for equal prize money have invested in order to reach that. I applaud them for that. I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve, and they got it.

“On the other hand, I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more, because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the, you know, reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. But, again, you know, we can’t complain because we also have great prize money in men’s tennis is at the right moment in the right time. Look, I don’t know what Raymond Moore was exactly referring to when he was saying that, but this is all I can say from my perspective.

“Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve. I think as long as it’s like that and there is data and stats available and information, you know, upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed.”

When asked specifically if the language used was offensive, he said: I think we have to be fair to say that it’s not politically correct. I mean, it was maybe exaggerated a little bit, but that’s just my opinion.”

The interesting thing was – at no point did Moore raise prize money into the equation. He just dismissed the importance of the women’s tour in its entirety. It was a strange response from the men’s World No. 1 and not his finest hour at a time when he should have been rejoicing in his continued dominance.

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