Johanna Konta was in tears aftre being abused by Ilie Nastase.
Johanna Konta was in tears aftre being abused by Ilie Nastase. Lynne Sladky

Nastase booted after racist, expletive-filled tirade

ILIE Nastase has been removed as Romania's Fed Cup captain after abusing officials, journalists and players and being thrown out of his team's playoff against Great Britain.

Just a day after he was accused of making racist comments about Serena Williams' unborn child, the 70-year-old has been condemned by International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty for his "unacceptable behaviour," and the body also began an investigation.

"No player, official, member of the media or fan should have to endure any kind of abuse," Haggerty said, "and Mr. Nastase will rightly play no further part in this tie."

With Britain's Johanna Konta leading Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 1-2, Nastase became embroiled in a row apparently about noise from the crowd.

Nastase was reportedly heard to say to the umpire: "What's your f***ing problem?". He then appeared to call British captain Anne Keothavong and Konta "f***ing b******".

With Konta breaking down in tears, Nastase was sent off the court by referee Andreas Egli and, after taking a seat in the stands, was then escorted back to the locker room.

The ITF said Egli asked Nastase to leave the court "for unsportsmanlike conduct, having already received two official warnings.

Nastase was also removed from the grounds due to his "serious misconduct", and has had his accreditation removed.

The match between Konta and Cirstea resumed, and the British player won five successive games to win 6-2, 6-3 and level the World Group II playoff at 1-1.

Cirstea later hit out at Konta, accusing her of having a thin skin.

"I'm not happy," she said. "Johanna, speaking tennis wise, she was better than me today. My problem was, and I still do not understand, why the match was stopped at 2-1.

"I did not hear what Ilie said, I understand you take Ilie out, perfect. Then we play another game, I win it, and then suddenly you started crying and let's go off the court.

"I've played all over the world, they called me from gypsy to bitch to a***hole to idiot. They were doing like (mimes slitting throat) to me. I never cried and left the court, I stay there and I play."

In incidents away from the court, Britain's Press Association said journalist Eleanor Crooks was verbally insulted by Nastase for reporting his comments about Williams.

Nastase told Crooks: "Why did you write that? You're stupid, you're stupid."

The tirade went on for more than two minutes, the news agency said.

"He repeatedly called me stupid, asked me why what he said was racist," Crooks said.

"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.

"Fortunately he was across the other side of the room from me and there were other journalists around so it was unpleasant rather than threatening.

"But it is certainly not the behaviour you would expect of someone in his position and wholly unnecessary, especially given he did not dispute the accuracy of what was reported."

Nastase, nicknamed "Nasty" in his playing days, won two Grand Slam singles titles and was world No. 1 in the 1970s. He retired as a player in 1985 and was inducted in the tennis hall of fame in 1991.

News Corp Australia


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