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5 Jan, 2021 11:41

‘No holding back’: Serena Williams’s husband brands billionaire tennis chief sexist & racist after he suggests 39yo should retire

‘No holding back’: Serena Williams’s husband brands billionaire tennis chief sexist & racist after he suggests 39yo should retire

A bitter row has broken out after the boss of the Madrid Open urged Serena Williams to retire because of her "age and weight", provoking the veteran's investor husband to angrily hit back with accusations of sexism and racism.

Alexis Ohanian led a frenzy of furious responses after Ion Tiriac, a former tennis Olympian and the third-wealthiest man in Romania, claimed that Williams should end her career at the age of 39.

Reddit co-founder Ohanian claimed that "no-one gives a damn" about the opinions of Tiriac, only to show his anger at his words again and explore the 81-year-old's professional record in order to draw a curious comparison with his infant daughter.

"Had to Google it," multi-millionaire entrepreneur Ohanian explained, mocking former French Open doubles champion Tiriac for failing to win a major singles title.

"My three-year-old has more Grand Slam victories than this," he added, declaring Tiriac a clown before repeating the insult again in a further tweet.

"2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family," he said. An avalanche of criticism towards Tiriac followed, with many hailing Williams as their "queen".

The American needs one more Grand Slam trophy to equal Margaret Court's record, losing in the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019 as she failed to win a major tournament for the first year since 2011.

“Serena was a sensational player," Tiriac told Romanian TV. "If she had a little decency, she would retire.

“At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as he did 15 years ago."

Williams slammed Tiriac for a comment that she perceived as "ignorant" and "sexist" in 2018, promising to "have words with him".

Tiriac had pointed out that the 23-time Grand Slam champion weighed 198lb in a remark that prefaced her withdrawal from the tournament he oversees. 

Following his latest quotes, a fan asked: "How dare [he] suggest that Serena Williams should retire?

"What gives him the right to pass judgement? Serena is a legend and the greatest of all time."

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