Sacked tennis commentator Doug Adler is to sue broadcaster ESPN, claiming he compared Venus Williams’ tactics to a “guerilla”, rather than a “gorilla”.
Accusations of racism were made by viewers, who alleged he used the word “gorilla” to describe Williams during her Australian Open second-round match against Stefanie Voegele in January.
Adler apologised but insisted he had said: “Venus moved in and put the guerilla effect on.”
However he was later dismissed by ESPN.
Adler’s lawyer David M Ring said that “guerilla tennis” was a common phrase in the sport to describe an aggressive match, citing a Spike Jonze-directed advert featuring Andre Agassi and Peter Sampras that was named after the term.
Adler had worked for ESPN since 2008 and was a professional tennis broadcaster for six years prior to that.
He claims he suffered “emotional distress” after the accusations of racism.