By Melanie Burton
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – 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.
Williams despatched Duan in 59 minutes and will play world number 181 Mona Barthel of Germany in the fourth round.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)