"I didn't mean any prejudice."
Brazilian tennis player Guilherme Clezar has been fined $1,500 for pulling a racist eye gesture at a Japanese line judge.
The BBC reports that the incident occurred during a Davis Cup match against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in Osaka. After challenging a line call during the third set, Clezar mockingly stretched his eyes back whist looking at the line judge.
Clezar was fined $1,500 by the International Tennis for “unsportsmanlike conduct”.
“The incident was reported after the match and the TV footage was then reviewed by the tie referee,” the ITF’s statement continued. “Clezar issued a written apology. The ITF condemns all forms of offensive behaviour.”
The 24-year-old tennis player’s posted on the Brazilian Tennis Confederation Facebook page,
“We have been extremely well received here and I have an excellent relationship with all tennis players from many different countries on the circuit.”
“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 lost the match in straight sets 6-2 7-5 7-6 (7-5). He is currently ranked 224th in the world.