If you’re a fan of tennis, then it’s very likely that you’re also a fan of Serena Williams. Frankly, she’s so skilled at what she does that her impact goes way beyond her own game. That’s why, in 2016, The Guardian deemed her to be “the greatest sportsperson ever,” backing that up by noting that “[s]he’s overcome adversity to win all the major prizes in tennis, and been way ahead at the top of the game for two decades.” Indeed, the outlet noted that she’s in the league of elite athletic greats such as “Muhammad Ali, Diego Maradona, Pelé, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Jack Nicklaus, Sir Donald Bradman, [and] Roger Federer.”
The sports experts over at ESPN agree, pointing out that when you’re discussing the best of the best, finding Williams’ name on the list is a given. “Of course Jackie Robinson is recognized as one of the great profiles in courage,” the outlet asserts. “Of course Henry Aaron is revered as baseball royalty. Of course Serena Williams is accepted as the greatest tennis champion of her time.”
That’s why it’s downright ridiculous when anyone tries to diminish what Williams has done or what she’s capable of. And although she can (and does) defend herself against others’ baseless opinions, her husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., is also fully willing and able to stick up for his wife. That’s just what he did when one particular person went after Williams.
Alexis Ohanian Sr. isn't 'holding back' anymore
Those who are thinking about criticizing Serena Williams regarding her tennis skills might want to keep their opinion to themselves. That’s because they might be taken down by none other than Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr.
That’s just what happened in January 2021, when Ohanian found out that Ion Tiriac, “who is the owner of the Madrid Open” and “has one singles title to his name,” according to the New York Post, felt the need to share his thoughts on Williams. “Serena was a sensational player,” Tiriac told “Romanian Public Channel” TVR in December 2020 (via the Post). He added, “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 she did 15 years ago.”
In turn, Ohanian took to Twitter to share his own stance, writing, “2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family.” He continued, “Had to Google it… turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slam victories than this (clown emojis).” Throwing in a final zinger, the businessman quipped, “Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Țiriac thinks.”
That’s something that Tiriac may want to consider, especially since he has shared unprompted thoughts about Williams in the past.
Ion Tiriac has gone after Serena Williams before
You may not hear a lot (or anything) about Ion Tiriac’s accomplishments (or lack thereof) when it comes to playing tennis — however, he seems to like to cause a buzz by sharing his opinions about the sport. Specifically, he seems to like to criticize Serena Williams. Back in 2018, Tiriac “also mentioned Williams’ age and weight,” according to the New York Post, saying, “I would like to see something else, I would like to see a player like Steffi Graf.” Trying to pit two amazing athletes against each other based on something other than their ability on the court? Nope, not okay.
In response, Williams told The New York Times (via Us Weekly) that she acknowledges that “people are entitled to their opinion.” However, she also added, “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.” Game, set, match, as they say.
From the sound of it, Williams’ fans, as well as Ohanian’s social media followers, agree with the tennis star and are fully behind the famous couple.
Fans are behind Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Sr.
When Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., decided to speak out on Twitter in January 2021 after Ion Tiriac criticized the legendary tennis player, fans responded with enthusiastic and unwavering support for the athlete and her spouse. “Beautifully said Mr Ohanian,” one person tweeted. “Thank you for leading the way in defending your wife Serena from clowns who have nothing better to do than hate! That is all their existence consists of so they cannot see brilliance when [it’s] staring them in the face! Stay strong!”
“You go Alexis. Most of us are tired of these people. I am glad you are able to defend your family freely when ever, and how ever you want. I salute you!” another person wrote. Someone else tweeted, “% support for defending your beautiful wife who has suffered decades of racial slurs for simple existing, it’s about time to silence these sort of clowns, great job.” Others agreed that “[e]nough is enough with Serena’s irrelevant haters” and that Tiriac’s opinion “was unwarranted” and there was “no reason at all” for him to share it.
Maybe someone should remind Tiriac that if he doesn’t have something nice (or correct, non-sexist, and non-racist) to say, then maybe he shouldn’t say anything at all.
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