Serena Williams applauded the WTA’s swift action following comments made by Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev referring to she and Venus as “brothers.” during a late night TV appearance.
Tarpischev appeared on the Russian late-night show “Evening Urgant” alongside former WTA player Elena Dementieva last week. When Dementieva was asked what it was like to play against the Williams sisters, Tarpischev jumped in and referred to them as the “Williams brothers,”
After a back-and-forth with the show host and Dementieva, who did not laugh at the comment, Tarpischev reportedly continued: “It’s frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball.”
Tarpischev was fined $25,000 by the WTA Tour and suspended from tour involvement for a year.
Serena says Tarpischev’s remarks are bullying.
I think the WTA did a great job of taking [the] 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. I thought they were in a way bullying.
The WTA issued this statement when announcing the suspension and fine of Tarpischev.
“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,” WTA Tour chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement.
“Mr. Tarpischev’s statements questioning their genders tarnish our great game and two of our champions,” the statement continued. “His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.”