Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has stood up for his wife after the tennis champion was body shamed.
The Reddit co-founder defended her after former Romanian tennis player Ion Tiriac, 81, criticised Williams’ playing.
“At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago,” Țiriac, who also owns the Madrid Open tennis tournament, said in an interview for a Romanian television channel that was translated to English by Ubitennis. “Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire. From all points of view.”
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A tennis reporter posted the interview on Twitter with the comment “Safe to say Serena will never play Madrid again…”. This is when Ohanian stepped in and commented “Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Tiriac thinks.”
The 37-year-old then continued the next day, pointing out that Tiriac has never won a Grand Slam tournament but his 39-year-old wife won the 2017 Australian Open whilst pregnant with their three-year-old daughter Olympia.
“Had to Google it… turns out my 3-year-old has more Grand Slam victories than this,” Ohanian said.
Ohanian added that he’s always going to defend his family.
“2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family,” he said.
It’s definitely not the first time Williams has been the centre of derogatory comments. In a previous interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, Williams opened up about the insulting comments towards her body and race that she receives from the public eye.
“It was hard for me. People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong. I was different to Venus: she was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular — and beautiful. But, you know, it was just totally different.”
Despite the criticism, Williams refuses to let other people’s perceptions affect her.
“I’ll never be a size 4! Why would I want to do that, and be that? This is me, and this is my weapon and machine,” she told the publication. “I can show Olympia [her daughter] that I struggled, but now I’m happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like. Olympia was born and she had my arms, and instead of being sad and fearful about what people would say about her, I was just so happy.”