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Russian Tennis Official Fined $25,000 & Suspended for calling Serena & Venus “Williams Brothers”




The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has fined and suspended President of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, for calling tennis stars, Venus and Serena “the Williams Brothers.”

Tarpischev made the derogatory comment during a Russian late-night talk show a few weeks ago, Palm Beach Post reports. In addition to calling the sisters the “Williams Brothers,” he also said that they were “frightening to look at.”

As a result, WTA has fined him $25,000 and suspended him for one year. The ban will prevent Tarpischev from being involved in all WTA events for the next year. In addition, the association is also making plans to remove him from his post as Kremlin Cup chairman, a position he has held for almost 20 years.

Following the backlash, Tarpischev stated that his comments were only a joke. “I understand now that my remarks were wrong and could be construed as discriminatory by the public,” he said.

Serena has spoken out on the issue, stating “I think the WTA did a really great job of taking initiative and immediately taking action to his comments. I thought his comments were very insensitive.”

Photo Credit: Zhukovsky/


  1. omoibo

    October 20, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Racist b**tard! He’s just jealous & mad…

    • Thatgidigirl

      October 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Exactly! Bloody racist bastard

    • Author Unknown

      October 21, 2014 at 3:12 am

      What if this statement had been made by a black person?

    • Doxa

      October 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

      If it was made by a black man, then he’d be a sexist or a misogynist. If it was by a black woman, I will just call her ‘jealousy’ (with nigerian accent).

  2. bruno

    October 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    im sure the man is a christain,

    • ak

      October 20, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Pls shut up Bruno.

      @No Wonder… commenting on someone’s skin tone is different from calling someone ugly and frightening to look at.

      It’s ok to say someone is “dark… dark as night” but it becomes a problem when you say the person is “black like a monkey” or something derogatory.

      And also, i’m glad wisdom taught you NOT to make such comments to such a person’s face. If not, you for don chop slap.

  3. No Wonder

    October 20, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    You know, this thing about racism is something I really don’t get. I take it that his comments were insensitive but I could say something like that too to my friends but not in public. I remember when I was in school in Europe, my friend and I were watching a football match and there was this very black guy from Brazil. Mehn, this guy black, as black as night. Then I blurted out right beside my friend, this guy is black, damn! How can someone be this dark! And she started laughing and said, you guys say it too? I said in Nigeria where we are not conscious of race, we say it all the time. My mum says it if she sees someone that is very dark. However, I said, you say it at your own peril, na you know.

    Now that I am conscious of race and the international community, I might not say in out but will definitely say it in private! I find these sisters frightening to look at too! I find them very ugly in short but will never say it in public at all. I have to be politically right and sensitive. I guess in Russia, that sensitivity does not really count given the nature of the country. They are not conscious of these things and Russia is one of the worst human right offenders in the world.

    • Meme

      October 20, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      It is never okay to make such comments about “dark” people. Although it was a joke, people like you and jokes like this are what contribute to the insecurities among our black race. Black people are the most racist people I ever met and it sucks so much because they are racist against their own race. I remember growing up … All those comments about me being so black got me totally convinced I was some ugly beast.. But we thank God for better times now. But trust me it should never be joked about the colour of someone’s skin or appearance….. You actually called them ugly…? Perhaps you dropped down from heaven.

    • ak

      October 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Also the Williams sisters and that racist are not friends…

      So your argument is invalid

    • No Wonder

      October 20, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      See, everyone has insecurities even the white people. This same friend of mine I was talking about, who is white, we wanted to go out swimming one time and she said her body was too white and she would not take off her clothes. She said she wanted to tan for sometime before feeling comfortable enough to show her body to the public. The day she said it, I was too shocked because I never imagined that white people had such insecurities. Now I would equate that to being too black in Nigeria. The USA is a different ball game entirely because of what race has played in the past.

      I have a very flat forehead and people used to tease me about it in the past. When I was younger, it made me insecure and I made hair to cover it. Now, I am the first to pack my head backward, if you like yab me na you know. It does not define who I am. My point is that everyone has insecurities so your example does not count. Like I said earlier, internationally and in public, I would never say such as thing. Even if the official has said the girls were so beautiful, it would have still be inappropriate because people would say, “comment on their talent and not physical appearance”. Is this not what women fight against when reports dwell on what they are wearing or physical appearance especially when they hold public positions?

      To me. commenting on physical appearance is just what it is. I did not fall from heaven but I consider myself very beautiful. Compared to white people, I am dark and I will never trade my skin colour for anything in the world. If you are beautiful, that is what it is. If you are ugly, that is what it is! Period! Even the Bible described Asalom as a very Handsome man with long hair – pleasing to look at. For Bible to describe beauty, it means there is actually something like that. It also means that some people are pleasing to the eyes and some are not, deal with it. Physical appearance however does not define who you are or tell the complete story. If you are very dark, when I see you, I call you Blacky charcoal, if you wan die, enter sea abeg. The world is not fit for people like you. Go to heaven where everything is perfect. On earth, it is survival of the fittest. Be strong or die out!

    • Reverse

      October 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      @No Wonder, you consider yourself very beautiful. Good. I consider you very ugly… Ugly heart, ugly mouth, ugly attitude! Please shut your trap and go swim with your white friend!

    • Shadie

      October 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      @No wonder, the extent of your ignorance knows no bounds that you would call a human being that God created very ugly and frightening to look at, shows that you have not learnt anything about sensitivity nor are you qualified to live amongst the human race let alone the international community as you claim. We are all beautiful in God’s eyes remember that.

    • unnecessary

      October 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Your comment is very rude and ignorant. Yes I said it! I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but yours was uncalled for. What is so scary about them to look at? Perhaps you should post your picture so we can see what you look like. I am sure your mother taught you better than to call someone ugly. The Williams sisters have done you no wrong and don’t deserve such comments from a no face person like you. In a sport that is dominated by whites, they have dominated and broken down barriers, set records and made history. Today many young girls have an opportunity to dream and aspire to be like them. Can you say the same for yourself and your career? Have you been able to accomplish 1/4 of what they have in your career? or do you think your beauty is going to help you get there? I seriously suggest you mind how you go about calling people ugly and scary to look at because you don’t know what your offspring will be like if you end up reproducing,

  4. nene

    October 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    hmmn. i won’t lie and say that serena doesn’t look like a drag queen these days because she looks more hard these days compared to pre 2012. she’s always had muscular body but her face was always soft and pretty, but her face looks weird these days. venus doesn’t look like a man, never did. the official shouldn’t have said this, especially because they are women and it doesn’t matter how they look, they play good and interesting tennis.


    October 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm



    October 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm


  7. Akpo 'Diddie Uyeh

    October 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    So who receives the $25000?? Well…good for the man! What was he trying to achieve? Guess he got the trouble he was looking for?

  8. Akpo 'Diddie Uyeh

    October 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Ill stop making comments since uve refused to post them

  9. BC

    October 20, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Serena has a masculine upper body, yes but so does other women players on the tour. The difference is nobody hammers or ridicules them. Serena Williams might have big arms and shoulders BUT she also has the largest breasts, widest hips and biggest but. THAT is feminine. As far as her appearance , she needs to let go of those ugly, badly sewn in weaves. The apple does not fall far from the try tho as far as hair is concerned. their mother Oracene’s hair always looks horrible, my gosh! Her other sis Lyndrea also seems addicted to ugly weaves. I LOVE Serena but the truth is she goes overboard with color and sometimes makeup. Why use a black pencil to flip the corners of your eye? I mean, what it even called? Gold is not a good color for her hair and that color too seems to be her favorite! *sigh*

    • BC

      October 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm


  10. Mabel

    October 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    These women are athletes, not beauty pageants. The remarks are vile, for a person in his position and the only thing he should be discussing about any tennis player is their athletic prowess. These woman have worked their buns off to get to the position where they can dominate their filed, yet, the only thing that can ever be mentioned about them is their beauty, or lack thereof. Venus is tall and lithe while Serena is more muscular, they don’t even have the same body type. His words attempted to strip them of their femininity and womanhood as though they have not done anything for woman’s tennis.

    • BC

      October 21, 2014 at 2:11 am

      “Strip them of their feminity and womanhood” Absoultely correct.

  11. quiet confidence

    October 20, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    @wonder, you are probably not aware that ignorance is a disease and the cure is education! It boggles my mind that you made such statements like “Now that I am conscious of race and the international community, I might not say in [sic] out but will definitely say it in private! I find these sisters frightening to look at too! I find them very ugly in [sic] short but will never say it in public at all. I have to be politically right and sensitive.”

    What exactly do you find frightening to look at about the Williams sisters? Is it because you find them “ugly in [sic] short”? Some might even consider them dark, muscular, etc. However, since when did any of these uniqueness make them frightening to look at. As far as I know, they each have one head, two eyes, ears, a nose, mouth, neck, torso, with all limbs and body parts anatomically correct and functioning.

    Although you claim you might not make your statements publicly but in private, isn’t BN a public forum? Is the fact that you make your statement under the guise of an assumed name make it less public? Oh I get it you are being “politically right and sensitive”.

    I am aware you are expressing your opinion, however, there are more sensitive and politically correct words/phrases to use to get your point across. Keep in mind that you probably do have some unique racial traits (as does everyone) that does not appeal to someone else.

    I would suggest you educate yourself on race and the uniqueness of each race. Also, take a sensitivity class.

  12. Author Unknown

    October 21, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Men have suffered sha. So being masculine is now synonymous with being ugly or frightening?

  13. benny

    October 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

    See how people are attacking @NoWonder for saying what most of you think just to sound politically correct. It isn’t about skin colour or race to me. Growing up, society has molded my definition of physical beauty in a woman. I see it everyday in several women. Heck I think Grace Jones is absolutely gorgeous but I do not see it in the Williams Sisters.
    Before one self righteous black beauty rights activist jumps on my case, I will not say this if I am invited to any serious platform to talk about the great woman serena is. That’s like someone being called to talk about my qualities at the work place and the person decides to focus on my bow legs. Everyone knows I have bow legs; its in ur face. I rily can’t fault anyone for noticing that.
    Please leave @NoWonder alone abeg. It is bella naija comments section not Fox News

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Grace Jones is just beautiful black artistry, all over.

      I had the same love for Angela Basset when she got into form to play Tina Turner for “What’s love got to do with it?”. Many (black) women called her ugly and too masculine but I thought she looked amazing. The same way I’ve always been in awe of how Alek Wek and more recently, Lupita, portray the unconventional definition of beautiful black women.

      My love for the Williams sisters may have more to do with their dominance of the sport than their physical appearance but I wouldn’t refer to them as ugly. I think a lot of the outrage stems from the perception of women only being defined as “beautiful” if they look a certain way and appeal to men in a certain way. Which a lot of women are fighting against, more and more.

      As someone’s rightly said above, a comment like this one that the Russian made can be potentially damaging to the psyche of both Williams sisters. I know they look hard as nails but it must sting when you hear a man make that sort of statment which basically strips you of your femininity.

    • benny

      October 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I get it now. Never thought of it from this angle really. Thanks

    • papermoon

      October 21, 2014 at 10:13 am

      well Mz SA, Grace Jones scared me when i was a kid but growing up to appreciate physical diversity, i think she looks interesting……, i think Alek Wak too looks interesting.

  14. papermoon

    October 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

    so does the lady who plays the Knight in Game of Thrones

  15. Zedzed

    October 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

    What most people commenting do not realise is that Black women are considered unfeminine and therefore uglier than their Oyibo counterparts in general (a racist psychology today article published a so-called scientifically researched paper to prove this in 2011). This is not just about Serena and Venus Williams, it is about stripping darker skinned women of African decent of their femininity and apparently judging from the comments we African women also have the same thoughts really sad.

  16. ngozi

    October 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    wow.. such a disgraceful comment by a country coach.. i mean this is 2014.. not like when the Williams sisters just started out in the late 1990’s, during that time, the negativity/racism was really bad (e.g. Indian wells, 2001). why cant people just focus on their work and how they changed the game, won loads of grand slams and inspired young people to achieve success. oh well i love you girls and i will continue to be inspired by their strength, passion and God given talent…. but i agree with BC tho,, Serena i love you but pls put down that silly eyeliner.. lol.. keep your head up!

  17. chi-e-z

    October 21, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    We need to get rid of those rubbish weaves just burn them. I saw similar comment of Youtube saying West African women look masculine and I was like which kin rubbish statement be that. West African women with the biggest boobs and backsides even my skinny self gat c cups and round butt. If we look masculine what do flat chested aussies like certain athletes and tennis players look like.I blame those rubbish Malaysian/ Indian kini ko human/goat/horse/sheep wateva hair that be messing with our natural hair line and lower or raising giving an implanted crazy look.

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