Russian tennis chief Tarpischev banned after Serena & Venus "Williams Brothers" crack | Bob's Blitz

Russian tennis chief Tarpischev banned after Serena & Venus "Williams Brothers" crack

Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has been suspended from the WTA Tour for one year after referring to Venus and Serena Williams as "the Williams brothers" on the Russian TV show "Evening Urgant." "Mr. Tarpischev's statements questioning their genders tarnish our great game and two of our champions. His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned," WTA Tour chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement that also indicated Shamil was fined $25k for the comment.

“I am sorry that the joke which was translated into English out of its context of a comedy show drew so much attention. I don’t think this situation is worth all the hoopla because those words were said without any malice.”

He added that “the situation that evolved spontaneously after the airing of the late-night show with Ivan Urgant on Channel One is detrimental to the public perception of tennis and divides the tennis community.”

Tarpischev said that the Williams sisters “are without question outstanding athletes, top-class tennis players.”

In other remarks, he lamented the situation “was hyped to an absurd level” adding that Russians do not file complaints over “vodka, balalaika and bears” jokes on foreign comedy shows.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the TASS news agency that Tarpischev’s suspension was "an unpleasant fact," but he suggested his sanction should be reduced.

"It's probably worth trying to get the punishment softened," Mutko said.

Serena Williams said the WTA "did a wonderful job" punishing Tarpischev for his "bullying remarks."

"Mr. Tarpischev is expected to conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity and sportsmanship," Dave Haggerty, the president and chairman of the U.S. Tennis Association, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, his comments do not embody either of these traits and in fact were reprehensible."

Follow us on Twitter for exclusive stories, Subscribe by Email, or Return Home