Custom Search 1

Navratilova blasts tennis authority over Williams slur

SPEAKING OUT: Navratilova, left, and Serena Williams (PA)

TENNIS LEGEND Martina Navratilova has pulled no punches in voicing scathing criticism of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) failure to speak out against a national president member’s ill-judged comments on the Williams sisters.

International condemnation swiftly followed Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev’s comment about the American players Serena and Venus being “brothers”, but the ITF is facing a backlash for not leading on the matter.

Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slams over an illustrious career, blasted the ITF for its “silence” over the Williams sisters slur, which resulted in the Women’s Tennis Assocaition banning Tarpischev for a year and handing him a £15,500 fine.

She said: “The silence from the ITF has been pretty deafening.

“They are the ones who actually have the possibility of doing something as Tarpischev is head of the Russian Tennis Federation, which falls under the ITF and is also Fed Cup captain which falls under the ITF.”

Navratilova added: “This kind of bullying comment cannot be tolerated from anyone, but particularly from a high-up official in the tennis world.”

Serena Williams, an 18-time Grand Slam winner who has claimed 13 Grand Slam double titles with her sister Venus, issued a strong response to Tarpischev’s comments, which he later claimed were meant as a “joke”.

However Williams did not see the funny side and said the Russian tennis chief was “very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist”.

The ITF has attempted to downplay Tarpischev’s words and its president Francesco Ricci Bitti added: “Although Mr Tarpischev assured us that his comment was meant as a joke, we made it clear to him that what he said is inappropriate in any context.”

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments