The International Tennis Federation on Friday banned and fined Ilie Nastase over racist comments about Serena Williams’s unborn child, inappropriate behaviour towards Anne Keothavong and a member of the press, as well as a foul-mouthed Fed Cup tirade.
The Romanian ex-world No1 was in the ITF dock for his abusive behaviour as Romania’s Fed Cup captain in a tie with Britain in Bucharest in April.
The two-time Grand Slam winner is banned from all ITF competitions until December 2020, excluded from all ITF competitions excluding Grand Slams until December 2018, and fined $10,000.
The controversial 71-year-old was sensationally kicked out of the Fed Cup tie in the Romanian capital on the second day for his irrational conduct.
On the opening day he was overheard making disrespectful remarks about Williams’ unborn child.
“Let’s see what colour it (the baby) has. Chocolate with milk?,” he said in Romanian, remarks then reported widely internationally, including by a British female reporter who he then berated, describing her as “stupid” and “ugly”. He asked pregnant captain Keothavong for her room number, and directed other inappropriate comments towards her.
On day two he was escorted from the Constanta venue after swearing at the umpire as well as the British skipper and a visiting player.
He was heard to call Keothavong and British number one Johanna Konta “f****** bitches”.
Nastase has been charged with:
Part of Nastase’s defence in the charge related to his comments on Williams’ unborn child is that they were “intended as a joke and were misinterpreted” and that “he comes from a nation where racism is not ‘as delicate an issue as it may be in other parts of the world’. There is also no prior evidence of Mr. Nastase being racist; his friendships and partnerships with contemporaries such as Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah stand as evidence to the contrary”.
Nastase did not deny the remarks he made to Keothavong but claims “he had no intention to emotionally or physically harm the members of the GB team” and that the fact he “made the requests in public, shows that they were intended as jokes to ‘reduce tension surrounding the Tie’ and to display a ‘friendliness’ towards the GB team”.
The commencement of the period of his suspension was deemed to be April 23, 2017, the date on which he was provisionally suspended.
Full details on the sanction can be found here.
Nick Kyrgios expects to regain full fitness before the US Open and is targeting a return to the tour at the Citi Open in Washington DC, which starts on July 29.
The Australian world No20 retired two sets into his Wimbledon first round against Pierre-Hugues Herbert due to a lingering hip injury and has been training and doing rehab work in Canberra to prepare for the upcoming North American hard-court.
Speaking on a visit to SCD American Vehicles in Queensland, Australia earlier this week, Kyrgios sounded optimistic about his physical condition and is confident he’ll be ready for the final Grand Slam of the season in New York next month.
“It’s one of my favourite tournaments, so I’m definitely going to be playing that,” Kyrgios said of the US Open.
“I’m working hard at the moment. Obviously just flew up for the day today, but I’ve been back home, putting my head down, doing all the right things to get healthy. I’m doing rehab every day, so I’m flying back after this, going back to Canberra and doing rehab every day.
“I’m aiming for Washington in a couple of weeks in the US, so if everything goes well and I keep doing it, there’s no reason why I can’t be playing healthy in the next couple of weeks.”
The 22-year-old will be joined by Dominic Thiem, Alexander “Sascha” Zverev, Lucas Pouille and Gael Monfils in the field in Washington DC, where he’ll be looking to get his season back on track after injury woes slowed down the strong momentum he had earlier in the year.
He is currently ranked 24 in the Race to London and is searching for a first title win in 2017.
Swedish sportswear brand Björn Borg has orchestrated a tennis match on the US–Mexican border with one player on each side of the border, half the tennis court on Mexican soil and the other half on US soil.
Borg Open – Tennis across Borders – is an initiative intended to manifest an open world in which sport has the power to unite people.
The world of today is full of conflicts and rivalry that lead to frustration, causing people and nations to build walls between each other. But rivalry can also be something good. After all, a rival pushes you to perform better and often brings out the best of you.
So, why build walls, when we could get to know and learn from one another instead? That’s why Swedish sportswear brand Björn Borg has manifested a tennis match on the US–Mexican border, at Tijuana River, where a game has been played between tennis players Mariano Argote (MX) and Peter Clemente (US).
Henrik Bunge, CEO of Björn Borg, said: “Borg Open is our way to state that we, as a sportswear brand, believe in an open world. Unfortunately, the activity is not likely to make those people who promote raising walls change their opinion. But, with our heritage, we know that not only tennis nets, but sport in general, has the power to unite people. We hope to inspire people to reach out to their neighbours and do sport together instead of building walls.”
On average a tennis player swaps sides 13 times during a game. In this game, they weren’t allowed to. Borg Open – tennis across borders, is an initiative intended to encourage people to stop build walls and play a game of tennis instead.
The tennis match was played at Tijuana River, between San Diego (US) and Tijuana (MX) 32°32’29.93″N 117° 2’19.57”W.