Serena Williams’ husband has caused a stir at the US Open with what appears to be a thinly-veiled swipe at Maria Sharapova.
Alexis Ohanian was in attendance on Monday as Serena blitzed Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in just 59 minutes.
‘LOOKS UNREAL’: Tennis fans in frenzy over Serena's US Open outfit
‘SHE IS ALL OF US’: Female fan caught in cheeky act at US Open
It was Serena’s 19th-straight win over her long-time rival, and would have been particularly sweet considering their history.
Speaking of history, Ohanian appeared to reference Sharapova’s with the T-shirt he was wearing.
Ohanian wore a shirt with ‘D.A.R.E’ on the front - short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
Many took it as a dig at Sharapova, who was infamously banned from tennis in 2016 after testing positive to a banned substance.
Some found it funny, however a number of fans thought it was disrespectful.
OK this is amusing, up there with Kim Sears’ “parental advisory” shirt.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 27, 2019
For non-Americans, D.A.R.E. is Drug Abuse Resistence Education. https://t.co/yWBQDdg7jh
Serena's husband is so petty for this shirt! 😂 https://t.co/bMtLMd8jZw— Shells P (@docshellrx) August 27, 2019
I just saw Serena’s hub’s DARE shirt that he wore to the match. Talk about shade! Oh. My. Lol— Beverly Jenkins (@authorMsBev) August 27, 2019
s/o @alexisohanian for the D.A.R.E. shirt. I love your petty.— JeandraLeBeauf (@jeandralebeauf) August 27, 2019
Wow ! I don’t particularly like Maria and all her noise on court . That shirt is pretty nasty though . You can love your partner without bullying her opponent for all the world to see . Not particularly professional or kind— 💧Sally Lawry (@SallyLawry) August 27, 2019
Two wins! on court & in the shade category in stands 😎 pic.twitter.com/eyVWklLvG6— StevenLSrQ🌊 (@StevenLSrQ) August 27, 2019
I love how shady Serena’s husband is. https://t.co/koxJ540Z06— Shoshana March (@shoshpd) August 27, 2019
Serena's husband is truly appalling. Can't stand that guy. A disrespectful twat. People like him are what make these losses painful.— Christian (@ItsMeCree_) August 27, 2019
While Serena delivers the papercut, her husband applies lemon juice to it.— Sooshe (ಸುಶೀ) (@SoosheBot) August 27, 2019
Can we stop calling it a rivalry, though? https://t.co/nLlm9npCtX
Serena Williams husband wore a DARE tshirt to her first round match against Sharapova who was famously suspended from tennis for abusing performance enhancers 😂😂 https://t.co/m7iPPTpGEb— M∆TT PÜNK (@MattPunkArt) August 27, 2019
More of the same for Sharapova
Sharapova slipped back into an all-too-familiar routine on Monday as the Russian came up short for the 20th time in 22 matches against Serena.
A stone-faced Sharapova was left to ponder the drubbing that proved once again Williams has all the answers when the pair meet on court.
"I thought she served really well. Found her spots really well. Didn't feel like we got into too many long rallies," said Sharapova.
"I think the 1-2 punch. She won a majority of those points."
Prior to Monday match, Williams led Sharapova 19-2 in head-to-head meetings. They last met in the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals where the American emerged with a 6-4 6-1 win.
They were due to meet at last year's French Open but Williams withdrew due to injury.
Sharapova has not taken a set off Williams since the Miami Open in 2013.
The 32-year-old Russian, who was banned for 15 months for taking the banned drug meldonium in 2016, struggled with injuries earlier this year, including persistent shoulder problems that have plagued her in the past.
The five times Grand Slam champion underwent a small surgical procedure for her right shoulder that caused her to miss the Miami Open.
"I missed a lot of this year with my shoulder. Just getting the routines back and being back in the draws is, you know, it's tough to talk about after a defeat, but it's a long road," Sharapova said.
"It's facing an opponent that's at her stature is extremely difficult in the first round of a slam, coming in with the fact that I haven't played that much."
There is no love lost between the two, with Sharapova including Williams in her autobiography in anecdotes that the American described as "hearsay."
"Sport is very much result-oriented. There's stories behind the results," said Sharapova. "There's phases you have to get through in order to get to where you want to go.
"This is a very different chapter in my career. It's not an easy road. It's never been."
Williams next faces fellow American Catherine McNally, after the wildcard beat Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-1.