Ilie Nastase, the Romanian tennis legend, is using this weekend's Fed Cup to cover himself in disgrace. At yesterday's press conference ahead of today's playoff between Great Britain and hosts Romania, he launched an outrageous racial slur at Serena Williams' unborn child, overheard on the microphone saying "Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"
He is facing an ITF investigation over the comments, and with that hanging over him, decided to act the bollocks during today's match, too. Nastase is currently Romania captain, meaning he had a vested interest in today's tie between Britain's Johann Konta and Romania's Sorana Cîrstea.
During the match, Nastase was angered by either a decision made by the umpire or something he had overheard. This clip below shows him becoming increasingly agitated.
Nastase continued to wander about, berating people, before striding towards the net to fire a volley of abuse toward the umpire and Konta, saying "what's your fucking problem" to the umpires, before roaring "you fucking bitches" twice to Konta and British captain Anna Kvitova. He was sent to the stands, and after a couple of minutes of confusion, he was ejected completely. You can watch that unfold below.
He was escorted all the way back to the changing rooms, as shown here by PA journalist Eleanor Crooks.
Nastase escorted back to the locker rooms pic.twitter.com/4M9Ck4Frng
— Eleanor Crooks (@EleanorcrooksPA) April 22, 2017
Play did resume a couple of minutes later, but Nastase's antics had wound up the entire crowd, with loud chants of "Romania" ringing through the arena. The ordeal unnerved Konta, who broke down in tears during play. After further consultation, she left the court with play suspended. A member of the Romanian team urged the crowd to settle down so as to allow the game to resume. Watch that below.
Extraordinary. Nastase won two Grand Slams as a player, the US Open and the French Open.