Russia chief banned for Williams jibe

Tennis federation head banned and fined after referring to Venus and Serena as 'brothers' and 'scary' to look at.

    The comments were meant as joke, according to the Russian tennis chief [REUTERS]
    The comments were meant as joke, according to the Russian tennis chief [REUTERS]

    Russian Tennis Federation head Shamil Tarpischev was unrepentant about the comments he made about the Williams sisters, saying they were only meant as jokes and that he doesn't understand why he was banned for a year by the WTA Tour.

    Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and suspended from tour involvement for a year after referring to Serena and Venus Williams as "brothers'' on a Russian TV show and called them "scary'' to look at.

    Asked whether he regretted his comments, Tarpischev told The Associated Press at the Kremlin Cup that the programme on which he spoke was "a humorous show'', adding: "I don't answer stupid questions.''

    In a statement released later by the Russian Tennis Federation, Tarpischev denied any "malicious intent'' and said his quotes had been taken out of context.

    "I didn't want to offend any athlete with my words,'' he said. "I regret that this joke ... has garnered so much attention. I don't think this incident deserves so much fuss.''

    The Williams sisters are "outstanding athletes'' who "personify strength and perseverance'', he added.

    The WTA said it would seek his removal as chairman of the Kremlin Cup tournament, which ends Sunday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.