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The president of the Russian Tennis Federation (FTR), Shamil Tarpishchev, said that thanks to a story with a joke on American sisters Serena and Venus Williams, he managed to advertise the Kremlin Cup tournament. His words are Sport Express.
With this misunderstanding, we unwittingly made a good PR for the Kremlin Cup, Tarpishchev said.
He noted that he considers this story a special order and sees in it a political component. The head of the FTR has not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit against the Williams sisters regarding prejudice. Tarpishchev expressed the opinion that this court will be difficult to win, since it should be held in the United States.
Earlier, experts of the federal center for forensic examination under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation found that Tarpishchev’s joke about Williams sisters was not offensive. They drew attention to the fact that, calling tennis players brothers, the president of the FTR emphasized only their physical data, similar to men's.
Tarpishchev apologized several times to the athletes, but the latter did not accept them. Serena Williams called the functionary’s joke sexist, and Maria Sharapova also criticized the president of the FTR.
For his statement on the air of the television show, Evening Urgant Tarpishchev was fined by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for 25 thousand dollars and suspended from work in its structures for a year. The functionary himself said that in the International Olympic Committee, of which he is a member, they consider the situation ridiculous.