INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (KABC) --Serena Williams spoke out against comments made by the director of the BNP Paribas Open, who told reporters that women tennis players "ride on the coattails of the men."
Raymond Moore made his comments during a media session before the finals at Indian Wells on Sunday.
"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. They don't make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky," he said. "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."
Williams fired back in response to the 69-year-old's comments.
"We as women have come a long way, and we shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point," Williams said after she lost 6-4, 6-4 to Victoria Azarenka.
Moore's longtime colleague at Indian Wells, Steve Simon, became the WTA's CEO last fall.
"As the tournament director of one of the pre-eminent events in professional tennis, the comments made today by Raymond Moore were extremely disappointing and alarming," Simon said in a statement late Sunday.
The president of the U.S. Tennis Association also repudiated Moore's comments Monday. Katrina Adams, who played on the WTA Tour for 12 years, reiterated the USTA and U.S. Open's commitment to player equality.
"There is no place in this sport for antiquated, sexist or uninformed ideologies," she said in a statement, "and the comments made yesterday in no way reflect the beliefs of the vast majority of those in the tennis world."
Later, Moore issued a written statement to apologize:
"At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous," he said. "I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole. We had a women's final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.