Ilie Nastase: Romania captain is suspended after behaviour at Fed Cup

Ilie Nastase
Nastase had also made derogatory comments about Serena Williams' unborn child

Romania captain Ilie Nastase has been suspended by the International Tennis Federation over the incident that left Johanna Konta in tears on Saturday.

In Konta's Fed Cup match against Sorana Cirstea, Nastase was sent off after swearing at the umpire and abusing Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong.

He was later banned from the tie and escorted away from the venue in Constanta on the Black Sea coast.

But as play continued on Sunday, Nastase, 70, returned to the site.

He was later ordered to leave after entering the VIP restaurant, BBC Sport's tennis correspondent Russell Fuller reported.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said the provisional suspension meant Nastase "may not participate in the Fed Cup in any capacity with immediate effect".

A statement added he "shall be denied access to any ITF event, including the Fed Cup", pending further investigation into "a breach of the Fed Cup welfare policy".

Nastase also twice abused a British journalist on Saturday over the reporting of derogatory comments he made about Serena Williams' unborn child at a Friday news conference.

While Romanian player Simona Halep was answering a question in English about Williams' pregnancy on Friday, the 70-year-old turned to one of his other team members and added in Romanian: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"

He also put his arm tightly around Keothavong and asked for her room number, in earshot of the watching media.

'Nastase asked me if I was a virgin'

On Sunday, former US Open finalist Pam Shriver claimed Nastase - a former world number one - also made inappropriate comments to her when she was a teenage star of the women's tour.

Shriver, 54, said Nastase repeatedly asked her if she was a virgin.

"Whenever I saw him at any tournament he would ask me the same question," she told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportweek.

"This man has not been respectful of women for a long, long time."

The BBC has contacted the Romanian Tennis Federation for a response, but is yet to receive a reply.

Shriver says that although she spoke to friends about the two-time Grand Slam winner's behaviour during the pair's playing days, she did not officially report it.

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Johanna Konta tears & Nastase sent off - dramatic scenes at Fed Cup

"When I got older, perhaps 20, and he asked me for about the 30th time, I said, 'would you please stop asking me that?'," added Shriver, who won 22 Grand Slam doubles titles.

"Sort of to his credit, he never asked me again. I set a firm boundary and he stopped."

The ITF is investigating Nastase's conduct on Saturday and also the derogatory comments relating to 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Williams' unborn child the day before.

Ilie Nastase
Nastase also verbally abused a British journalist after he was ejected from the stadium on Saturday

"You want the punishment to match the crime and he behaved really badly," Shriver added.

"I think it has all gone too far. I think it is over now, I think he is done as a coach, certainly in any formal setting.

"Everybody has a couple of different sides to their personality and certainly not all of Ilie Nastase is evil and mean and sexist. But unfortunately he does not have a filter and there is a side that is, so he can't coach women players any more."

American Shriver is a two-time Fed Cup champion, who reached the final of the 1978 US Open as a 16-year-old, losing to Chris Evert.

Britain were beaten by Romania 3-1 in their best-of-five World Group II play-off after Irina-Camelia Begu beat Heather Watson 6-4 7-5 on Sunday.

Pam Shriver
Shriver reached the US Open final at the age of 16

Analysis

BBC Sport tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Perhaps the final day would not have been complete without a cameo appearance by Ilie Nastase. Despite being banned from the premises, he walked calmly through the front entrance and into the VIP restaurant soon after Romania had taken an unassailable lead.

It appears he left via the back door - having been served notice that he had been provisionally suspended from all ITF events with immediate effect.

His team were the stronger over the two days. Simona Halep - motivated by what she saw as unfair criticism of her home crowd - was outstanding against Johanna Konta, and she looks a strong contender for the French Open.

Heather Watson was very competitive against Irina-Camelia Begu, but her defeat consigns Britain to another February in Euro Africa Zone One. It is a routine of which they are tiring.

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