The WTA Tour slapped Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev with a $25,000 fine and a one year ban from tour involvement for a year after questioning the genders of American tennis superstars Serena Williams and Venus Williams via a local television show a week ago.
In the Russian late-night talk show “Evening Urgant,” Tarpischev interjected when former WTA player Elena Dementieva was asked how it was to play against the Williams sisters. He went ahead and referred to them as “Williams brothers,” based on a translated version of the interview that appeared on Tennisinfoblog.com.
The WTA added that Tarpischev owes the Williams sisters an apology over the incident.
“Mr. Tarpischev’s statements questioning their genders tarnish our great game and two of our champions,” WTA Tour chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement. “His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.”
US Tennis Association President and Chairman Dave Haggerty echoed the sentiments.
“As the president of the Russian Tennis Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Tarpischev is expected to conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity and sportsmanship,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, his comments do not embody either of these traits and in fact were reprehensible.”