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


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.