Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has been fined $25,000 for referring to Serena and Venus Williams as “the Williams brothers” on a TV chat show.
Shamil Tarpischev also received a one-year ban from involvement in the women’s tour.
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive Stacy Allaster said the comments were “insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport”.
However, Shamil Tarpischev claimed it was a “joke” with no “malicious intent”.
He added in a statement: “I didn’t want to offend any athlete with my words. I regret that this joke has garnered so much attention. I don’t think this incident deserves so much fuss.”
Shamil Tarpischev added the Williams sisters are “outstanding athletes” who “personify strength and perseverance”.
World number one Serena Williams, 33, has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, while 34-year-old Venus Williams has won seven.
Stacy Allaster said: “Mr. Tarpischev’s statements questioning their genders tarnish our great game and two of our champions.
“His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.”
[youtube iM1SGX_r02g 650]