Ilie Nastase: Romania's Fed Cup captain banned by ITF after Fed Cup row

Romania captain Ilie Nastase has been banned from official roles by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) until 2021 following his tirade at a Fed Cup tie in Bucharest in April.

He swore at an umpire, insulted British number one Johanna Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong and made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams' unborn child.

Nastase, 70, will not be accredited for ITF events until 2019.

He was also fined $10,000 (£7,700).

Grand Slam tournaments are not included within the sanction, nor the respective ATP or WTA Tours, as they lie outside the jurisdiction of the ITF.

The ITF adjudication panel said his comment about Serena Williams' unborn child was racially insensitive, adding that he made advances of a "sexual nature" towards Keothavong.

Nastase said his comments were intended as a joke and had been misinterpreted.

WARNING: Some people may find the language below offensive

During the Fed Cup in April, Romanian player Simona Halep was answering a question in English about former world number one Williams and her pregnancy. Nastase then turned to one of his other team members and added in Romanian: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"

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

Ilie Nastase
Ilie Nastase says his comments to British players came when he was no longer on the court and no longer acting as captain

The following day before play had even started, Nastase insulted a British journalist over their reporting of his comments about Williams, calling the Press Association's tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks "stupid".

Later, after Konta and Keothavong complained of calling out from the crowd in the World Group II play-off tie in Constanta, Nastase was involved in a discussion with officials in which he used foul and abusive language.

He then called both Konta and Keothavong "a bitch" multiple times, as well as swearing at them.

Nastase was sent off after the incident that left Konta in tears and her match suspended. Romania went on to win the play-off.

The key ITF findings

  • Serena Williams - His comment was "unethical, unprofessional, unacceptable, offensive, derogatory and may be interpreted as racist".
  • Anne Keothavong - By asking for her room number when both were married, he "made a sexual advance, which was unwelcome and constituted sexual harassment".
  • On court - Nastase "directed verbal abuse at the chair umpire, the referee and the GB players". He also threatened the referee by saying "you know you are not going to leave the country".

What now for Nastase?

He had been provisionally suspended in April, and has 21 days in which to appeal against ITF sanctions.

Both Wimbledon and the French Open subsequently announced that they would not be extending their customary invitations to him to attend their events.

Nastase, who won the US Open in 1972 and the French Open the following year, has said he would quit tennis if he was banned.

Speaking to BBC Sport earlier in the year, he defended his comment about Serena Williams, saying: "For me, it's not racial. Somebody in England thinks it is."

Nastase said he abused Konta and Keothavong as a member of the crowd - that he was no longer acting as captain, having been sent off.

When asked whether he regretted his behaviour, Nastase replied: "Of course - but just understand, I was upset. Of course I would not say that if I was not upset."

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