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Tennis tourney director quits after criticizing women pros as ‘riding on coattails of men’

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Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO Raymond Moore (L) presents the second place trophy to Serena Williams of USA after the women's final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, March 20, 2016. Victoria Azarenka defeated Williams 6-4, 6-4. / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” has resigned.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison announced Monday night that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event in the California desert.

Ellison says Moore informed him of his decision to quit when they spoke earlier in the day. Ellison says he understands Moore’s decision.

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday on the tournament’s last day.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa has worked for the desert tournament that features both men’s and women’s players for several years.