Serena Williams' Husband Rips Ion Tiriac for Comments on Her Age, Weight

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2021

Serena Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian reacts following her second round singles win over Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

Serena Williams' husband, Alexis Ohanian, responded this week to criticism about her age and weight by Romanian Tennis Federation president Ion Tiriac. 

"At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as he did 15 years ago," Tiriac, who's also the director of the Madrid Open, told Romanian outlet ProSport (h/t TMZ Sports) in late December. "Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire. From all points of view."

Ohanian appeared to reference Tiriac's nondescript playing career in his reply:

The 39-year-old, who won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, has reached four Grand Slam finals since returning to the court after giving birth to her daughter in September 2017 and suffering life-threatening complications in the aftermath.

Williams won the Madrid Open in 2012 and 2013 and reached the semifinals in 2015, which was the last year she entered the tournament.

This isn't the first time Tiriac has made derogatory comments about the 23-time Grand Slam champion. Speaking with Sport Bild in 2018, he referenced her age (36) and weight at the time and said he "would like to see a player like Steffi Graf."

Williams took the high road, telling the New York Times' Christopher Clarey that "people are entitled to their opinion" but called Tiriac's comments "ignorant" and "sexist."

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