Serena Williams Slams Russian Tennis Federation President For “Racist” And “Sexist” Williams “Brothers” Remark

Truth rating: 10
Serena Williams Brothers

By Shari Weiss

Serena Williams Brothers

(Getty Images)

Serena Williams says the president of the Russian Tennis Federation was being “sexist” and “racist” when he referred to her and her sister Venus as the “William Brothers.”

Shamil Tarpishchev of the RTF was appearing on a Russian State TV talk show on Friday when he made the remark. When the host noted, “I was at the Olympics, where Maria Sharapova was in the final, playing with one, with one of the…,” Tarpishchev responded, “Williams Brothers.” He also said of the sisters, “It’s scary when you really look at them.”

The Women’s Tennis Association condemned the remarks on Saturday, and doled out several punishments. Tarpishchev, who is also a member of the International Olympic committee, was barred from working in an organizational role for one year, and was fined $25,000.

He issued an apology of sorts as well, another demand by the WTA, saying his comments were “taken out of a context” and not said maliciously. Williams, however, while grateful for association’s swift action, was still angered at a Sunday press conference for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

“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,” said the superstar athlete.

She went on, “I’ve done the best that I can do, and that’s all I can say. So I just wasn’t very happy with his comments. I think a lot of people weren’t happy as well.”

“But the WTA and the USTA [United States 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,” she added.

Sharapova, who is from Russia, also slammed the comments, saying, “I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA.”

“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,” said the tennis star.

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