‘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.
Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Țiriac thinks.— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) January 4, 2021
Had to Google it... turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slam victories than this 🤡🤡 pic.twitter.com/Q2pgsNWFAj— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) January 4, 2021
2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family.— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) January 4, 2021
"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.
Ion Tiriac always seems to come for Serena for no reason, whatsoever. It seems as if he’s threatened by her for simply still playing the sport she’s dominated for 3 decades. The first article is recent while the others are from 2018. pic.twitter.com/KVcvXZ0IIA— “Lizard-looking witch” (@AO_SW19) January 3, 2021
“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".
Yaasss, Alexis! Ion Tiriac is a racist and sexist pig, who repeatedly traffics in this kind of hateful rhetoric against #Serena because few, if any, in the tennis media and Tennis Establishment challenge him on his BS. Shame on Tiriac, yes; and shame on Tennis — doubly so. 😏🍏 pic.twitter.com/Dz6QARPjjf— Kimberly A. Woodard (@BeingKimmie) January 4, 2021
I wonder if this ignorant, racist, misogynistic, old fool is saying the same thing about Roger?— Jennifer (@JennfromBim) January 5, 2021
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."Also on rt.com White privilege? Serena Williams says she's been 'underpaid & undervalued' compared to tennis rivals