Writer apologizes for asking Serena Williams about Trump claim that she's 'intimidated' by Sharapova's 'supermodel good looks'

A sports reporter has issued an apology after receiving backlash for asking Serena Williams if, as President Trump is said to have suggested in 2004, she was “intimidated by [the] supermodel good looks” of opponent Maria Sharapova.

Serena Williams after defeating Julia Görges on Saturday. (Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Simons, the publisher and editor for the sports publication Inside Tennis, quoted Trump over the weekend when he interviewed Williams, who was due to face Sharapova at the French Open Monday morning. Trump reportedly told Simons that Sharapova’s appearance — including her “incredibly alluring” shoulders — put Williams off her game and resulted in her loss at the 2004 Wimbledon final. It is one of two instances in which Williams has lost to the Russian player.

Trump allegedly credited Sharapova’s good looks for her 2004 victory over Williams. (Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Simons was also criticized for calling Williams, who is returning to tennis after giving birth to her daughter in September 2017, “baby.”

“We’re in this together, baby,” he said during the French Open press conference, asking for time for more questions.

“No, we’re not,” Williams fired back. “You’re not going home to a screaming baby.”

She also dismissed his — and Trump’s — suggestion that she was intimidated by Sharapova.

“I honestly don’t have any thoughts about that,” she responded. “I can’t say I have been intimidated by anyone. That’s all. That’s it.”

Simons has been accused of being sexist and inappropriate in his questioning, prompting him to defend himself on Twitter and apologize for appearing to “empower Trump or attack Serena.”

Though Simons — whose profile picture shows him posing with Williams — insisted that he had a track record of supporting social justice, many weren’t buying his statement.

Meanwhile, Williams has had to pull out of her match with Sharapova due to an arm injury.

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