Navratilova unhappy with ITF silence on Williams slur

Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:55am EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Multiple grand slam winner Martina Navratilova has questioned the "silence" of the International Tennis Federation after one of its members described world number one Serena Williams and older sister Venus as "brothers".

Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev was swiftly banned for a year and fined $25,000 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) after making the comments on local television on Friday.

Navratilova, one of the game's greats with a total of 59 grand slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, praised the speedy action by the WTA to defend Serena and former world number one Venus, winner of seven grand slam singles title, but was critical of the ITF.

"The silence from the ITF has been pretty deafening," she told a small group of reporters in Singapore ahead of the start of the WTA Finals on Monday.

"They are the ones who have actually the possibility of doing something as Tarpischev is head of the Russian Tennis Federation, which falls under the ITF and is also Fed Cup captain which falls under the ITF.

"The WTA has done all they can do. They certainly have shown they have Serena’s back and Venus’ back and he might have thought the comment was funny but it was anything but.

"Certainly this kind of bullying comment cannot be tolerated from anyone, but particularly from a high up official in the tennis world."

Tarpischev, also an International Olympic Committee member, offered an apology on Saturday at the behest of the WTA, whose 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. holds her trophy while flanked by tennis greats Martina Navratilova (L) and Chris Evert after Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their women's singles finals match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 7, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar