Russian Federation Head Handed Hefty Fine and Suspension for Degrading Comments Towards Williams Sisters

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Tennis witnessed its latest despicable act several days ago when Russian Tennis Federation head Shamil Tarpischev appeared on Evening Urgant and proceeded to degrade Venus and Serena Williams, two of the sport’s most successful athletes.

Tarpischev labeled the pair “The Williams brothers” and proceeded to degrade them further (via

Look at our athletes, elegant and beautiful. I have tremendous respect for them [Williams sisters], but once one of the sisters passed next to me, and I found myself in her shadow for about forty seconds. They are so physically powerful. Weren’t you afraid to play against them?

Less than a day following the remarks went viral on social media, the WTA released a statement condemning his actions and detailing the hefty fine ($25,000) and year-long suspension placed upon 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. Serena Williams and Venus Williams are champions on and off the court – outstanding human beings, incredible sportswomen and amazing role models who have done so much to inspire women and girls around the world to achieve their dreams.

As a result of his comments, I have ordered Mr. Tarpischev to be fined $25,000, the maximum allowed under WTA rules. In addition, he will be suspended from any involvement with the WTA for one year and we are seeking his removal from his position as Chairman of the Board of the Kremlin Cup for one year. His re-instatement will be dependent on good behaviour. Mr. Tarpischev’s private letter of acknowledgement is a start. However, Mr. Tarpischev owes Venus and Serena Williams a personal apology, as well as other players and tennis fans everywhere, a public apology.

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