“I think the WTA did a great job of taking initiative and taking immediate action to his comments,” Williams said. “I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they were in a way bullying. ”
The comments came during an appearance on what Tarpischev said was “a humorous show” in Russia earlier this month. Elena Dementieva, also on the show, was asked about playing the Williams sisters and Tarpischev interrupted, calling them the “Williams brothers” and adding “it’s scary when you really look at them.”
Tarpischev, also chairman of the Kremlin Cup and a member of the International Olympic Committee, said in a statement released by the Russian Tennis Federation: “I didn’t want to offend any athlete with my words. I regret that this joke … has garnered so much attention.”
Maria Sharapova was disproving, too.
“I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad that many people have stood up, including the WTA,” she said. “It was very inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities that he has not just in sport, but being part of the Olympic committee. It was just really irresponsible on his side.”