Serena Williams‘s husband Alexis Ohanian is slamming retired tennis player Ion Tiriac as a racist and sexist after the 81-year-old suggested that she should retire due to her age and weight.
‘2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family,’ Ohanian tweeted Monday.
Tiriac, who ranked as high as No. 8 in the world in 1968 and now owns the Madrid Open, recently told Romanian journalist Irina Păcurariu that the 39-year-old Williams should step away from the sport, claiming she no longer moves quickly.
Serena Williams ‘s husband Alexis Ohanian (right) is slamming retired tennis player Ion Tiriac as a racist and sexist after he suggested that she should retire due to her age and weigh
Ion Tiriac (left) said Williams should show ‘decency’ and retire because of her age and weight
Serena Williams of the United States in action against Kristie Ahn of the United States in the first round of the Women’s Singles competition on September 28. She ultimately withdrew from the tournament because of an Achilles injury that she suffered at the US Open
‘At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as he did 15 years ago,’ Tiriac reportedly said. ‘Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire.’
Ohanian, who married Williams in 2017, first reacted to Tiriac’s comment a day earlier, tweeting that it is ‘safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Tiriac thinks.’
He then took another swipe at Tiriac by referencing the couple’s three-year-old daughter, Olympia.
‘Had to Google it,’ Ohanian tweeted, ‘turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slam victories than this [clown].’
Tiriac has just one singles title to his name, but did win 22 doubles crowns, including the 1970 French Open, which he won with his countryman, Ilie Năstase.
Tiriac, 81, has just one singles title to his name, but does have 22 doubles crowns, including the 1970 French Open, which he won with his countryman, Ilie Năstase
Williams, on the other hand, has 73 singles titles, including 23 grand slams. She’s won only one singles crown since giving birth in 2017 (the 2020 ASB Classic last January), but has remained competitive and reached the semifinals of the US Open.
In September she withdrew from the French Open because of an Achilles injury.
Tiriac has criticized Williams’s age and weight before before.
‘With all due respect, 36 years old and [198 pounds],’ Tiriac told Sport Bild, a German publication, in 2018.
According to the New York Times, Tiriac was upset because he felt women’s tennis lacked headliners. (Tiriac has been described as a ‘mentor’ to Romanian tennis star Simona Halep, another former No. 1)
Williams responded at the time by calling Tiriac ‘ignorant.’
‘I always say people are entitled to their opinion,’ Williams told the Times in 2018. ‘Clearly there’s more to women’s tennis than me. There’s a lot more, but I’ll have words with him, believe me, I’ll have words with him.
‘It’s an ignorant comment, and it’s a sexist comment, and maybe he’s an ignorant man.’
The Australian Open starts on February 8, while Tiriac’s Madrid Open begins on April 30.
Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Olympia pictured together in Auckland