Venus Williams unfazed by commentator’s ‘gorilla’ remark

Seven-time Grand Slam winner prefers to focus on her ‘wonderful, wonderful career’

 Venus Williams celebrates her victory over   Ying-Ying Duan  in the third round of the women’s singles at the  Australian Open in Melbourne. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Venus Williams celebrates her victory over Ying-Ying Duan in the third round of the women’s singles at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

 

Seven-times Grand Slam winner Venus Williams on Friday brushed off a remark made about her at the Australian Open which led to a TV commentator being stood down by broadcaster ESPN.

Doug Adler, commentating on the African-American 13th seed’s second-round match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele on Wednesday, provoked outrage on social media when he was taken to have described Williams charging “like a gorilla”. Adler, a former tennis professional, said he had said “guerrilla”.

Williams was questioned about the comment after thrashing China’s Duan Ying-Ying 6-1, 6-0 to reach the fourth round.

“All I can say is it’s been a wonderful, wonderful career for me, full of positives. That’s what I focus on. I mean, what else can I do? It’s a beautiful life. That’s how I feel about every single thing,” said the 36-year-old.

“I pay attention and address situations that are noteworthy. That’s been my past record, clearly.”

ESPN said Adler “should have been more careful in his word selection”.

“He apologised and we have removed him from his remaining assignments,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

Williams despatched Duan in 59 minutes and will play world number 181 Mona Barthel of Germany in the fourth round.

Williams’ sister, Serena, will be primed for action against compatriot Nicole Gibbs in their third round clash, the American battle-hardened by wins over two former top-20 players in the opening rounds.

High level

“At the end of the day, when I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better,” Williams said ahead of her showdown against the 92nd-ranked Gibbs on Rod Laver Arena.

“It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. So I think it’s actually good. I needed something to start really fast. I’m not going to complain about it.”

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza insists keeping a cool head will be the key to her challenging for the title. Muguruza, who is seeded seventh in Melbourne, eased past Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-2 on Friday to reach the last 16.

The Spaniard was predicted to become a multiple Grand Slam winner after her triumph at Roland Garros last year but second round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open have halted her momentum.

She appears ready to go deep again here, however, with her victory over Sevastova setting up a fourth round meeting with Romanian Sorana Cirstea. The winner is likely to play defending champion Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals.

“I think I’m calmer if that makes sense,” Muguruza said. “I’m a little bit further from that emotional craziness when you, like, lose a point, you get upset a little bit.

“So I’m taking that a little bit from a distance, trying to analyse less, just go for the next point, keep in mind only positive messages. If I have negativity, it’s not going to work.”

Kerber continued her title defence with a routine win over Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of Karolina, whom Kerber beat in the final at the US Open in September.

Kristyna Pliskova did not carry the same threat as her sibling, however, as Kerber sealed a 6-0 6-4 victory and will now go up against American Coco Vandeweghe.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.