Serena Williams and Andy Murray came out in defence of equal pay for men and women in tennis, after Novak Djokovic's controversial comments. The Serbian had earlier said the men deserve more money, because they get more fans into the game.
Having already given a scathing reply to now-former Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, when the latter said women should "get down on their knees" and be thankful to the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for carrying women's tennis on their backs, Serena did not hold back on Djokovic's opinion either.
"It has been disappointing," Serena was quoted as saying by The Guardian at the Miami Open. "If I have a daughter who plays tennis and also have a son that plays tennis, I wouldn't say that my son deserves more because he is a man.
"If they both started at three years old I would say they both deserve the same amount of money.
"I have been playing since the age of two and it would be shocking to say my son would deserve more than my daughter. It is irrelevant. Novak is entitled to his opinion but if he has a daughter – I think he has a son right now – he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy."
"It all boils down to that. I would never put a sex against another sex. I think it's unfair to compare, we have had so many great women champions and players who have brought such great vision to the sport.
"There have been great men players too, but women's tennis is the biggest sport for women – period. Men's tennis is not the biggest sport for them but it's still huge. You do have soccer, (American) football, basketball. Everyone works really hard. Once again, it all boils down to how you'd explain it to your kids."
Murray was far from amused by Djokovic's comments as well, and the Scot, who never holds back when it comes to the serious topics, also took a pot-shot at Sergiy Stakhovsky, who is not a fan of equal pay in tennis.
"One of the things Novak said was that if women are selling more seats and tickets they should make more but at a tournament like this. For example, if Serena is playing on centre court and you have a men's match with Stakhovsky playing, people are coming to watch Serena. The crowds are coming to watch the women as well. The whole thing just doesn't stack up – it changes on a day-to‑day basis depending on the matches you get," Murray said.
"Men's tennis has been lucky over the last nine or 10 years with the players they've had, the rivalries which have come out of that. That's great but the whole of tennis should capitalise on that, not just the men's game."
The whole issue cropped up when Moore made controversial comments regarding women's tennis, saying they were riding on the coattails of the men. That led to Moore stepping down from his position and Djokovic saying he believes the men should be fighting for more pay, considering they draw a bigger audience.
Murray, who recently became a father to a girl, though, believes equal pay is the way to go in Grand Slams and top-ranking tournaments like the one in Indian Wells and Miami this week.
"I think there should be equal pay, 100 percent, at all combined events," Murray added. "The timing of it (Moore's comments) was just so strange, right before a great women's final (between Serena and Victoria Azarenka), there were 16,000 people in the stadium waiting to see them play.
"The whole thing was very strange and very disappointing. I don't understand at all where he was coming from with those comments. It made no sense at all.
"I think it will happen one day. Maybe if there is a tournament in Acapulco one week and then another one in China for the women, I don't know how that would work, but at the combined events, it will be equal."
Djokovic, after the backlash, went the "my comments were misinterpreted" way.
"I've made some comments that are not the best articulation of my view, and I would like to clarify them," the world number one was quoted as saying by AFP. "We all have to fight for what we deserve. This was never meant to be made into a fight between genders and differences in pay, but in the way all players are rewarded for their play and effort.
"This was my view all along and I want to apologize to anyone who has taken this the wrong way."