Anna Kournikova's a bitch and I despise her

Serena Williams has hit back at US tennis player Justin Gimelstob, after he called Russian player Anna Kournikova "a bitch" and two other female players "sexpots".

Gimelstob made the comments during a radio interview, just before being voted on to the ATP board as a players' representative at the weekend.

The 31-year-old, who retired last year, said he aimed to make Kournikova cry at an upcoming mixed doubles tournament, and described French players Tatiana Golovin and Alize Cornet "sexpots", and Czech player Nicole Vaidisova as a "well-developed young lady".

According to The Times of London, Gimelstob said of Kournikova: "Hate is a very strong word - I just despise her to the maximum level just below hate."

"I'm going to serve it right at the body, about 128 (mph), right into her midriff.

"If she's not crying by the time she comes off court then I did not do my job."

Gimelstob has since apologised for the comments.

Serena Williams, who reached the last 16 of Wimbledon on Friday, said Gimelstob's comments were unnecessary.

"Being pro-women's rights, I just think we've come farther than to be referred to like this," she said. Williams.

"Anna is a great girl. For anyone to say that about her is not professional. It's just totally uncalled for. Unless you really know these people, you talk to these people, you never know what people go through. It's not good to say those things about people."

Vaidisova, the world number 22, said Gimelstob's comments were just a joke that had backfired.

"I know his sense of humour a little bit. I know he kind of talks like that a little bit. So I can cut him some slack," Vaidisova said.

"I have briefly seen it. I know Justin. He's a very nice guy. I heard he apologised for it. I think it's just you say something and you don't really mean it. It happens."

Kournikova refused to get into a slanging match. "It's not about these things; it's about keeping it fun and positive for the fans," she said.

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