Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and suspended for a year for referring to Venus and Serena Williams as the “Williams brothers” and stating that they are “frightening to look at” on a late night talk show.
Tarpischev said, “I didn’t want to offend any athlete with my words. I regret that this joke has garnered so much attention. I don’t think this incident deserves so much fuss.”
The Woman’s Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association didn’t find it amusing and immediately took action against Tarpischev to show their disapproval of his comments. In a statement, the CEO of the WTA, Stacey Allaster, said, “The statements made by Shamil Tarpischev on Russian television with respect to two of the greatest athletes in the history of women’s tennis are insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport.”
This all proves to be a large distraction for two very successful careers. Serena Williams, 33, just won her 18th Grand Slam title this year, while Venus Williams, 34, has acquired seven Grand Slam titles in her career.
Regarding the comments Tarpischev made, Serena Williams said, “The WTA and the USTA did a wonderful job of making sure that, in this day and age, 2014, for someone with his power, it’s really unacceptable to make such bullying remarks.”
She added, “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. I just wasn’t very happy with his comments. I think a lot of people weren’t happy as well.”