(October 17, 2014) Before this week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev during the taping of a Russian late-night television show called Evening Urgant, called Venus and Serena Williams “brothers.“
The WTA has come down on Tarpischev fining him the maximum allowed under the WTA tour rules, $25,000 and suspending him from tour for a year for his comments about Serena and Venus Williams.
The WTA Tour wants Tarpischev to be stripped from his position as chairman of the Kremlin Cup tournament for one year.
Here are the full statements from WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster and US Tennis Association President, Chairman and CEO Dave Haggerty.
USTA response to recent comments by Shamil Tarpischev regarding the Williams sisters
“As the President of the USTA and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Federation, I call on Shamil Tarpischev to issue a formal apology to Venus and Serena Williams. 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. Unfortunately, his comments do not embody either of these traits and in fact were reprehensible.”
— Dave Haggerty, President, Chairman and CEO, USTA
October 18, 2014 Update: An official statement from the Russian Tennis Federation and Tarpischev was released on Sunday.
The Associated Press reported on the statement, here are a few excerpts:
Asked whether he regretted his comments, Tarpischev told The Associated Press at the Kremlin Cup that the program on which he spoke was “a humorous show,” adding: “I don’t answer stupid questions.”
When asked about his ban, Tarpischev said: “I can’t comment. I don’t understand it.”
In a statement released later by the Russian Tennis Federation, Tarpischev denied any “malicious intent” and said his quotes had been taken out of context.
“I didn’t want to offend any athlete with my words,” he said. “I regret that this joke … has garnered so much attention. I don’t think this incident deserves so much fuss.”
The Williams sisters are “outstanding athletes” who “personify strength and perseverance,” he added.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the ITAR-Tass agency that he regretted that Tarpischev had made the comments and that his suspension was “an unpleasant fact,” but suggested his sanction should be reduced.
“It’s probably worth trying to get the punishment softened,” Mutko said.
Official statement of Russian tennis federation & Tarpischev: http://t.co/ezQKHyHfIF
— Vladas Lasitskas (@VladasLasitskas) October 18, 2014