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Russian Tennis Federation chief appeals disqualification over insult to Serena Williams

November 24, 2014, 9:23 UTC+3
President of Russia’s Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev was disqualified for referring to Serena Williams as one of the Williams brothers
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President of Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev

President of Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev

© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. President of Russia’s Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev has challenged the decision of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to disqualify him for one year for his insulting joke about US tennis player Serena Williams.

“I have filed an appeal,” he told TASS on Sunday.

Tarpishchev was a guest at the Vecherny Urgant (Late Urgant) show on Russia’s Channel One in late October. He remembered that Serena Williams was Maria Sharapova’s tennis rival at the 2012 Olympic Games. Recalling that match, he incidentally referred to Serena Williams as to “one of the Williams brothers” (Serena Williams has a sister, Venus Williams, who is also a tennis player). Serena Williams described the joke as “sexist” and “racist”. Tarpishchev later apologized for his words.

The Women’s Tennis Association disqualified Tarpishchev for a year for his joke last Saturday. He was also fined $25,000.

Later, the WTA published Tarpishchev’s letter of apologies to the Williams sisters. At the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore, Serena confirmed that Tarpishchev had apologized to her and her sister in writing. She, however, did not say whether she had accepted the Russian tennis functionary’s apology.

An investigation was also launched by an ethics commission of the International Olympic Committee.

World number one Serena Williams is 18-times Grand Slam winner. Her sister Venus has won seven Grand Slam titles.

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