Tarpischev issues formal statement on flak over Williams sisters

Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has issued a formal statement regarding the flak that he received when he referred to Serena Williams and Venus Williams as brothers.

Dear sirs,

On behalf of myself and the Russian Tennis Federation I want to sincerely apologize for my insensitive remarks concerning Serena and Venus Williams made last week.

While my intention was to make a small joke, I realize now that what I said was inappropriate in any context.

I have the greatest admiration for the Williams sisters who are among the greatest players ever to compete in our sport. My support for women’s tennis over the years should be obvious given the number of women players who have received support from the Russian Tennis Federation and the annual Kremlin Cup tournament.

However, I understand now that my remarks were wrong and could be construed as discriminatory by the public. That was not my intention but I recognize that I need to make a full apology to the tennis family and especially to the Williams sisters.

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