Ilie Nastase, the former world No. 1 professional tennis player and Romanian captain, is under investigation for apparently racist comments and behaviour at the Fed Cup.
After tennis champion Serena Williams announced her pregnancy last week, Nastase is reported to have said, “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Williams is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child with her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has suspended and is currently investigating the Romanian captain for his comments.
A spokesperson for the federation said, “The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind.”
“We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanina captain Ilie Nastase and have begin an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.”
Despite his suspension, Nastase reportedly stormed into the media centre at the Tenis Club IDU and launched an attack on the journalist who published the comments.
Eleanor Crooks, a tennis correspondent for the Press Association has said that Nastase confronted her over the comments.
She said, “He repeatedly called me stupid, asked me why what he said was racist.”
“I explained we simply reported what he said and that it was unnecessary to make such a comment about colour.”
“He said the English were out to get him and called me stupid a few more times.”
Nastase continued his tirade further over the weekend after allegedly using abusive language towards the umpire and British players during the Fed Cup in Romania.
Nastase’s behaviour caused his team’s match against British player, Johanna Konta to be temporarily suspended while he was sent to the stands.
Konta left the court in tears after Nastase swore at her, her captain Anne Keothavong and the umpire.
However, Nastase has no regrets or remorse over his comments. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said, “I don’t regret it and they can send me to prison if they want – I don’t care.”
“I was just trying to promote the interest of my girl. The English player just stormed off without even asking permission to leave the court and I admit that’s when I called her a b**ch.”
He continued saying, “I don’t need this bulls**t.”
“I’m 70 years old. I don’t even get paid for being team captain. I don’t give a sh*t if they fine me or don’t let me sit in the captain’s chair.”
“Remember I was world number one.”
“If you throw someone out who was a world number one, it’s not good for tennis.”
Nastase caused further controversy earlier in the week after making inappropriate comments to the British captain, Keothavong.
During the official dinner before the cup, Nastase is reported to have asked for Keothavong’s hotel room number.