Ilie Nastase’s tenure as Romanian Fed Cup captain was very short-lived and has been ended. First his remark at the draw ceremony for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Romania and Great Britain about Serena Williams’s pregnancy was unacceptable and incredibly insensitive, now his hideous behaviour on court during a match resulted in referee Andy Egli telling him to leave the court.
Nastase refused to comply and as a result he was marched out of the stadium by security. He directed his venom at the British team, authorities and media using every piece of profanity he could think of. What a total embarrassment.
The ITF released the following statement:
Romanian Captain Ilie Nastase was removed from the court during the second rubber of the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Great Britain in Constanta. Mr. Nastase was asked to leave the court by ITF Referee Andreas Egli for unsportsmanlike conduct, having already received two official warnings. Mr Nastase was also removed from the grounds due to his serious misconduct. His accreditation was removed and he will play no further part in the tie. The ITF has launched an investigation into this matter as well as previous comments made by Mr. Nastase during the week.
At the draw ceremony for the tie, Simona Halep was responding to a question about Serena expecting, when Nastase was overheard saying in Romanian to a team member: “Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Nastase was wrong to make such a comment.
Nastase used to frequently make such politically incorrect comments in his playing days. In the past, like the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s (rightly or wrongly) you could get away with it and Nastase would direct comments to and at players he knew well. He often referred to the late Arthur Ashe as “negroni” and would slip in comments about Harold Solomon’s Jewish background but that was a different era and the comments would be laughed off.
Ilie Nastase does not know the Williams family. What he may have thought was amusing, was not. The Romanian media tried to pass it off as a joke.
A couple of years ago Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpischev made derogatory comments about the Williams sisters. He later apologised but still stepped down as captain of the team because of the furor that followed. His place was taken by Anastasia Myskina.
A possible person Nastase could hand the reins over to is Virginia Ruzici, a great Romanian player from the ‘80’s and who is now Halep’s agent.
The ITF which owns the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas has told the BBC that it is aware of the comments and has begun an immediate investigation.
“The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind,” the statement reads. “We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.”