Serena slams Russian chief for 'sexist' slur

Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:18am EDT
 
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams slammed Shamil Tarpishchev for using "extremely sexist, racist and bullying" comments after the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) president described her and sister Venus as the "Williams brothers".

The WTA took swift action and fined Tarpishchev $25,000 and disqualified him from working in an organizational capacity for a year on Saturday after he made the comments on Russian State Television on Friday.

Tarpishchev, who is also an International Olympic Committee member, made an official apology later on Saturday after a WTA demand to do so but that was not enough for a clearly unhappy Williams.

"I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they were in a way bullying," Williams told reporters in Singapore on Sunday.

"I've done the best that I can do, and that's all I can say. So I just wasn't very happy with his comments. I think a lot of people weren't happy as well.

"But the WTA and the USTA (United States Tennis Association) did a wonderful job of making sure that -- in this day of age, 2014 for someone with his power, it's really unacceptable to make such bullying remarks."

Appearing on a chat show, the program host said to Tarpishchev: "I was at the Olympics, where Maria Sharapova was in the final, playing with one, with one of the...." before the RTF head responded by saying "Williams brothers".

WTA chief executive Stacy Allaster said the comments were "insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place on our sport".   Continued...

 
Serena Williams of the U.S. answers a question at a news conference at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, October 3, 2014.  REUTERS/Jason Lee