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Serena Williams' husband hits back at former pro's comments about her weight

Alexis Ohanian defended his wife after former player and head of the Madrid Open Ion Țiriac said during a TV appearance that she should retire.
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Alexis Ohanian and Serena Williams have been married since 2017 and have one child.Kevin Tachman / Getty Images for The Met Museum
/ Source: TODAY

Alexis Ohanian has no time for haters who want to criticize his wife Serena Williams' tennis skills or her weight.

Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, had some choice words for Ion Țiriac, the 81-year-old Romanian businessman, former pro tennis player and head of the Madrid Open, who recently suggested that Williams should hang it up because of 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 during an appearance on the Romanian TV show "Network of Idols." “Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire. From all points of view.”

When Portuguese journalist José Morgado posted the article about Tiriac's comments on Twitter, he shared the following sentiments: "Safe to say Serena will never play Madrid again..."

Ohanian, 37, quickly weighed in, adding the following cheeky comment: "Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Țiriac thinks."

Shortly afterwards, Ohanian called Tiriac a clown and suggested that his and Williams' 3-year-old daughter, Alexis, is a better tennis player than the 81-year-old ever was.

"2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family," he wrote in another message.

Tiriac, a French Open champ whose heyday was in the 1970s, has commented on WIlliams' weight and age before.

In 2018 he shared the following thoughts with a German newspaper: “With all due respect, (she's) 36 years old and 90 kilograms (198 pounds).”

At the time, Williams took the comments in stride and told the New York Times that others are entitled to their opinions.

“Clearly there’s more to women’s tennis than me. There’s a lot more, but I’ll have words with him, believe me, I’ll have words with him. It’s an ignorant comment, and it’s a sexist comment, and maybe he’s an ignorant man.”

Ohanian has always been one of his wife's biggest supporters. He's passing the trait on to this daughter, too, and recently took her to watch her mom compete in the U.S. Open 2020.

Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and her father, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, cheer on Serena Williams at the 2020 U.S. Open.
Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and her father, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, cheer on Serena Williams at the 2020 U.S. Open.Al Bello / Getty Images

Over the holidays, the proud father also shared a sweet series of photos of his family.

"Business Dad life never stops. Though sometimes it pauses for a family photo," he wrote. "Trying to do the best I can for these two."