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Positive Venus not focussing on 'gorilla' comment row

January 20, 2017 17:45 IST

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".

Venus Williams of the United States plays a backhand in her third round match against Ying-Ying Duan of China on Friday

IMAGE: USA's Venus Williams plays a backhand in her third round match against China's Ying-Ying Duan on day five of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne on Friday. Photograph: Jack Thomas/Getty Images

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," the 36-year-old told reporters.

"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.

During the second-round match on Wednesday, Adler, a 59-year-old former player, said: "She (Voegele) misses a first serve and Venus is all over her.

"You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging."

Viewers were quick to register their distaste on social media, while tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg called it "appalling stuff".

"Horrifying that the Williams sisters remained subjected to it still in 2017," he tweeted.

A report on the ESPN website said: "Because the words gorilla and guerrilla are pronounced similarly, it's impossible to say for certain which word Adler spoke."

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

Source: source
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