Tennis star Novak Djokovic has backed down and apologised for comments he made earlier in the week, suggesting men deserved to be paid more than women. His comments were soundly criticized by fellow tennis players, prominent among them being Serena Williams and Andy Murray.

The current world number one, who won a record fifth Indian Wells title after beating Milos Raonic in the final on 20 March, caused controversy when asked to react to comments made by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, who said the women's game "rides on the coat-tails" of the men's game.

The Serbian, however, took to Facebook to clarify his comments, saying they were taken out of context. "I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn't of my making. Euphoria and adrenalin after the win on Sunday got the best of me and I've made some comments that are not best articulation of my view", Djokovic said, as quoted by Skysports.

"I would like to clarify them. As you all know, I care deeply about the future of the game and all of the players. Tennis helped me so much in my life. Being where I am today, I felt the need to speak about the fairer and better distribution of funds across the board — this was meant for both men and women."

"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."

"Tennis is a sport that I love and that gave me the opportunity to help others who still have a long way to go to achieve their dreams. This was my view all along and I want to apologize to anyone who has taken this the wrong way."

Moore has since resigned from his position, apologising for his remarks calling them "erroneous". Steve Simon, the chief executive officer of the World Tour Association (WTA), has called his resignation the right decision on his part.