INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 22: A general view of Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final during day fourteen of the BNP Paribas Open tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 22, 2015 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Indian Wells CEO and tournament director Raymond Moore has resigned after his controversial comments regarding prize money for female tennis players.

"I think the WTA ... you know, 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," Moore said.

"They don't make any decisions, and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. 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. They really have."

Moore later apologised for his comments, but the damage was done, as he drew widespread criticism throughout the tennis community.

"Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director, effective immediately," Indian Wells tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement on Monday.

"I fully understand his decision.

"Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean [King], Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved.

"All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody."