Venus Williams fires one back at Stefanie Voegele in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Venus Williams fires one back at Stefanie Voegele in Melbourne on Wednesday. LYNN BO BO

Commentator dropped for his description of Williams

Doug Adler has been stood down from his ESPN commentating role at the Australian Open following a controversial remark on Venus Williams' playing style, but he claims to have been misinterpreted.

Although the US former tennis pro apologised for his description of Williams' play in the second round, he said he was characterising her aggressive style as "guerrilla” tactics and not comparing her with a "gorilla”.

He had "simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play”.

Williams was playing Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele on Wednesday when Adler noted the 36-year-old American's aggressive tactics when her opponent missed a first serve.

With Voegele hitting a second serve, Adler said: "You see Venus move in and put the gorilla (or guerilla) effect on. Charging.”

The response on Twitter was swift with some users accusing Adler of comparing the African-American Williams with a gorilla.

In a statement, ESPN said it had removed Adler from its broadcasts.

"During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologised and we have removed him from his remaining assignments,” it said.



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