Australian Open 2021: Serena Williams’ husband sparks savage reply, Alexis Ohanian brutal tweet, tennis news

Serena Williams has been caught in the crossfire after her husband’s brutal tweet sparked a savage backlash from the other side.

Serena Williams’ husband has copped a blistering attack for taking aim at the tennis superstar’s most shameless critic after her win on Tuesday night.

Williams bludgeoned her way into the Australian Open semi-finals with a sensational straight sets win over Simona Halep, showing off all the traits that have netted her 23 grand slam singles titles.

Alexis Ohanian — who co-founded popular online forum Reddit — was hyped up during his wife’s masterclass, regularly pumping his fists, shouting encouragement and getting up out of his seat to cheer her towards victory.

He also posted a blunt message on Twitter after the match. Referencing comments by former Romanian Olympic tennis star, tournament organiser and billionaire businessman Ion Tiriac, who said Williams should quit because of her age and weight, Ohanian wrote: “Good thing no one listens to that racist sexist (clown emoji) Ion Tiriac.”

“This is my wife. I have a platform. I have privilege. If I can use my platform + privilege to make a billionaire even a little uncomfortable about racist + sexist statements he’s made, it’s a win. Bonus is that other people will see it and reflect on it.”

Earlier this year Tiriac said of Williams: “At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago.

“Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire.”

It wasn’t the first time Tiriac has attacked Williams. In 2018, when asked about the state of women’s tennis, Tiriac took a jab at the 23-time grand slam winner by saying: “With all due respect, 36 years old and 90kg …”

At the time, Williams hit back saying: “It’s an ignorant comment and it’s a sexist comment. Maybe he’s an ignorant man.”

But Tiriac’s son Alexandru didn’t take kindly to Ohanian’s insult on Tuesday night, and penned an open letter to the tech guru in which he launched a stinging rebuttal.

“To Mrs Williams’ husband, I read your tweet with a mix of disbelief and disgust,” Alexandru wrote.

“The name Tiriac has a 70-year tradition in the world of sports and the gentleman you are referring to has written a few important chapters that have contributed to the book of tennis along these decades.

“From the player, to the coach, to the manager, to the tournament promoter, the respected person you are bad wording in these derogatory terms has (been) and still is, at the age of 82, one of the strongest advocates of this sport.

“The respect he has (Ion Tiriac) for Mrs. Williams is tremendous, as it should be.”

Alexandru then made the incredible claim Williams will only be considered among the top two dozen players to have ever graced a tennis court — when many consider her a frontrunner in the sport’s Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) debate.

The American is one major victory away from equalling Margaret Court’s record for most major grand slam singles titles in history — and Ohanian certainly believes she has earnt GOAT status.

In Williams’ player’s box during her win over Halep, Ohanian rocked a T-shirt that said “Greatest Female Athlete”, with “Female” crossed out.

Clearly, Alexandru Tiriac doesn’t share that view.

“She is and will remain in history as one of the best 20-25 players who have highly contributed to this sport,” he said.

“She has a personality that has opened many doors for young generations of athletes, in all fields of sports and in all social walks of life. For that, we are very grateful to her.

“Mr Williams, the only reason I reply to your unnecessary tweet is that words are misused and misinterpreted in today’s world through the various platforms in existence.

“Free speech should not be wrongly replaced with inappropriate slander.

“As Mrs Williams’ husband, you can no longer only represent your own views when you talk about sports, but also the voice of an icon.

“It would be a real shame to cast an erroneous image on her legacy through emotional baseless tweets.”

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Serena Williams retirement, Ion Tiriac weight comment, Alexis Ohanian response ahead of 2021 Australian Open

Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has accused Madrid Open owner Ion Tiriac of being racist and sexist after he told the American legend to retire.

Former Olympic tennis ace turned billionaire Tiriac recently urged Serena, 39, to retire based on her age and weight.

“At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago,” Tiriac said on Romanian TV. “Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire.”

It’s not the first time Tiriac has referred to Williams’ weight. In 2018, when asked about the state of women’s tennis, he took a jab at the 23-time grand slam winner by saying: “With all due respect, 36 years old and 90kg …”

At the time, Williams hit back saying: “It’s an ignorant comment and it’s a sexist comment. Maybe he’s an ignorant man.”

But after Tiriac’s most-recent comments, Ohanian – Williams’ husband and father to three-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia – let rip on Twitter.

Reddit co-founder Ohanian mocked 81-year-old Tiriac – the third-richest man in Romania.

He Googled his professional tennis record – with zero Grand Slam singles wins – before tweeting: “Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Tiriac thinks.”

Ohanian added: “Had to Google it … turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slam victories than this.”

After one Twitter user appeared to attempt to defend Tiriac, Ohanian let loose once again.

Ohanian wrote: “Keep defending your racist, sexist clown.”

He later added: “2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family.”

Williams needs just one more Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s incredible record.

She also boasts 16 Grand Slam doubles titles and four Olympic gold medals.

Tiriac, meanwhile, never made it past the fourth-round at a Grand Slam in singles.

He did win the 1970 French Open doubles title, however.

– The Sun

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Serena Williams husband, Alexis Ohanian

In the pilot episode of American sitcom How I Met Your Mother, one of the characters poses an obscure theory about the perfect relationship.

Aptly labelled “The Olive Theory”, it’s believed partners are a great fit if they have vastly contrasting opinions on a particular topic. For example, if one person hates olives, then ideally the other loves them.

With this in mind, it should therefore come as no surprise that Serena Williams’ husband hated tennis before they met.

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Speaking to CNN, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian conceded he never would have attended a tennis match if not for his wife’s career.

“I hated tennis for a long time, until I met my wife and tried to learn it,” Ohanian said.

“I am always a sports fan, and when I watched a final closely, I understood the privilege I had.

“Now I appreciate the world of tennis — I understand how the world of tennis is a difficult and intense world.

“In the world of technology we work really hard, but we have been naive since the work done by a professional tennis player, both physically and mentally, is absolutely on another level.”

Williams and Ohanian have been married since 2017, and the American superstar gave birth to their first child Alexis Olympia in September of that year.

Despite his initial preconceptions on the sport, Ohanian and his daughter are regularly spotted in the front row of tennis events, cheering on Williams.

READ MORE: Australian Open start date confirmed

“I sat in the front row to see everything Serena does, to understand her role in the world and I discovered how different she is from others,” Ohanian said.

“I know how much she has worked for everything, not only as a woman but also as a black woman.

“At the same time Olympia will never question all the great work her mother has done, and one day I will explain it to her, but I want to make her understand that I do my part too.”

Williams is a 23-time grand slam champion, one title shy of the all-time record held by Australian great Margaret Court.

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‘Not an easy decision.’ How Alexis Ohanian justified his departure from the Reddit board

Tech entrepreneur and investor Alexis Ohanian said in an Instagram Live video broadcast this weekend that he didn’t expect to garner as much public attention as he did last week upon announcing his resignation from the board of Reddit, the online community platform he co-founded 15 years ago.

Amid more than a week of global Black Lives Matter protests and collective action following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ohanian announced on Friday he would resign from Reddit’s board, calling for his replacement to be black. Ohanian has had varying degrees of control over the company since selling it to publishing company Condé Nast in 2006, but he hasn’t been involved in day-to-day operations since 2018.

This weekend Ohanian’s wife, professional tennis player Serena Williams, hosted a discussion with Ohanian as part of her “Serena Saturday” Instagram Live series. She described her husband’s announcement as “shocking to everyone,” including herself, and asked him to explain what motivated him.

“This was not an easy decision at all,” Ohanian said in the livestream. “Upon reflecting on the state of where our country is right now, I thought about what I could do beyond a social media post, beyond a donation, but really lead. … we need diversity at the highest levels of business, now more than ever. And I say that because it will be in the best interests of Reddit for that to happen. It’s in the best interests of every company for that to happen.”

When Williams asked Ohanian why it was important to him that a black candidate fill his vacated seat, he made the distinction between a board seat and an executive position. Appointing a board member is not the same thing as hiring an employee, he explained, and the board’s role doesn’t extend to operations—but they do hold the executive team accountable for their own and thereby the company’s actions, he said.

“That board role, in this case it’s one out of five board seats, comes with a vote,” Ohanian said. “That one vote is a chance to stand up for customers who aren’t in that room, to stand up for investors who aren’t in that room.”

In 2018 just 16.1% of board seats in the Fortune 500 were held by nonwhite individuals, according to the Alliance for Board Diversity.

Ohanian, who is also a venture capitalist, went on to explain that his decision wasn’t just about the impact it would have on Reddit and its stakeholders. He hopes to set an example for the broader tech industry and inspire other companies to realize they need to step up and make changes, to diversify representation, too.

“Resignation can be an act of leadership,” Ohanian said.

Ohanian also shared how he is motivated by his own legacy in the eyes of his and Williams’ 2-year-old black daughter, Alexis Olympia. On Friday, he also announced he would donate gains on his Reddit stock “to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hat,” beginning with $1 to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Campaign.

“I wanted to be able to answer that question from her with the clearest conscience,” Ohanian said. “I wanted to be able to say something and do something that had weight to it.”

While Ohanian’s resignation is a prominent gesture that may help alter the course of Reddit and other companies that prioritize black representation, it has been described as insufficient or too little, too late by some. Alexis Sobel Fitts writes in Jezebel that Reddit, which Ohanian made “his name and a large amount of money from,” has long been a hotbed for hate speech and racism, among other harmful and abusive content. Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao (best known for her sexual discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins) resigned when various Reddit leaders failed to align with her approach to curbing such content, which continues to thrive on the platform.

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