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After tough week, Djokovic is FOR equality in tennis

The world's leading male tennis player, Novak Djokovic has come out saying he's for equality in the sport, after a fierce debate over equal pay was sparked earlier this week.

"I never had an issue with equality in gender or sport or other areas of life," Djokovic told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia fields questions from the media during the Miami Open.
Matthew Stockman | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Novak Djokovic of Serbia fields questions from the media during the Miami Open.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Miami, Djokovic said every tennis player deserves "more of the wealth distribution" from tournaments after comments made in recent days suggested otherwise.

"I feel very sorry if, in any way, I hurt my female colleague tennis players. I have a very good relationship with all of them. I have a huge respect for all of them."

The apology comes after Djokovic suggested male tennis professionals should "fight for more" prize money, as they attract more spectators; adding that prize money should be fairly distributed to those who sell more tickets and garner more attention.

On Tuesday night, Djokovic issued his first apology on Facebook, saying he cared deeply about the future of tennis' game and all of its players.

"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," Djokovic said on the online platform.

The debate began after BNP Paribas Open tournament director and CEO, Raymond Moore, said players in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) should get "on their knees" and thank their fellow male players for the attention and money generated in the sport. Following the controversial comments, Moore issued an apology and resigned from his positions.

Fellow tennis professionals Andy Murray and Serena Williams spoke out on the prize money debate, with Murray saying he was "100 percent" for equal pay, while Williams said the comments made were "disappointing" and that "every athlete works extremely hard."

In Miami, Djokovic revealed that he had spoken with fellow players Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Caroline Wozniacki about the matter, saying his intentions were never meant to offend.

"I don't make any differences between the genders. I am for equality in the sport."

—Agence France-Presse contributed to this report