BRAZIL PLAYER APOLOGISES FOR 'RACIST' GES­TURE

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Tokyo, Ja­pan - Brazil ten­nis player Guil­herme Clezar apol­o­gised on Satur­day for mak­ing what ap­peared to be a slit-eyed ges­ture dur­ing his coun­try's Davis Cup tie with Ja­pan. While deny­ing any racist in­tent, the 24 year old could be in hot wa­ter fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent dur­ing Fri­day's de­feat by Yuichi Sugita in a World Group play­off in Osaka. Af­ter suc­cess­fully chal­leng- ing a line call, an ex­as­per­ated Clezar stretched his eyes in an ap­par­ent crit­i­cism of the line judge. The ges­ture was caught on lo­cal tele­vi­sion, but the player in­sisted he had not meant to in­sult Ja­panese peo­ple in a post on the Brazil­ian ten­nis fed­er­a­tion's Face­book page. "I want to un­der­line that I never had the slight­est in­ten­tion to be ag­gres­sive, racist, prej­u­diced or any­thing of the type against Asian peo­ple," said Clezar, who lost the open­ing rub­ber 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 be­fore Brazil fell 0-2 down in the tie. "We have been ex­tremely well re­ceived here and I have an ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ship with all ten­nis play­ers from many dif­fer­ent coun­tries on the cir­cuit," he added. "Even though I didn't mean any prej­u­dice, I recog­nise the ges­ture doesn't ring true with the at­ti­tudes of re­spect, en­thu­si­asm, sol­i­dar­ity, emo­tion and many other things that sport means to us and I want to ex­press my re­gret and my most sin­cere apolo­gies." Clezar, who also is­sued an apol­ogy from his Instagram ac­count, is ranked 244th in the world and mainly com­petes on the Chal­lenger tour.

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