Serena Williams slammed Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev for his “insensitive, sexist and racist” remarks in describing her and sister Venus as the “Williams brothers” on a late night TV chat show.
The world number one gave her first public reaction Sunday to Tarpischev’s comments as she spoke to reporters on the eve of the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore.
Tarpischev, who has been banned by the WTA for a year and fined $25,000, has also made a public apology, but that has clearly not satisfied 18-time grand slam champion Williams.
“I think the WTA did a great job of taking initiative and taking immediate action to his comments. I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time,” she said.
Williams, who won the U.S. Open title last month, added: “I thought they were in a way bullying.
“But the WTA and the USTA (U.S. 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.”
Maria Sharapova also expressed her disgust with Tarpischev’s comments.
“I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA,” she said.
“It was very inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities that he has not just in sport, but being part of the Olympic committee. It was just really irresponsible on his side.“
It just goes to show you — you can literally be the best in the world at something, and somehow someone will find a way to try and bring you down.