Ilie Nastase banned for Serena Williams ‘chocolate’ baby comment
Ilie Nastase has been fined and banned by the International Tennis Federation over his derogatory comments about Serena Williams.
The former tennis star got a $10,000 (£7,690) penalty and will be denied accreditation for all ITF events until 2018.
Romania’s Fed Cup captain made remarks about Williams’ pregnancy at a news conference for the Romania-Great Britain tie in April.
He was heard saying: “Let’s see what colour it (the baby) has. Chocolate with milk?”
Nastase – nicknamed ‘Nasty’ during his career – has been banned from “acting in an official capacity” until December 2020.
Before the tie began, he also asked Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong for her room number while posing for photographers.
Nastase also appeared to call Keothavong and British number one Johanna Konta “f****** bitches”.
The abuse caused Konta’s match to be briefly suspended as she left the court in tears.
He was asked to leave the court for “unsportsmanlike conduct” having already received two official warnings.
Nastase was provisionally suspended by the ITF in the wake of the tie in Constanta.
Wimbledon and the French Open both subsequently announced they would not be inviting Nastase.
The former world number one wrote an apology on Facebook after the event, where he described his comments as “spontaneous”, offering his “apologies, for whatever they may be worth right now”.
But he also said the situation had been “exaggerated by all” and praised Williams as “one of the greatest players of all times”.
Nastase denied breaching a series of articles of the ITF’s policy and said his comment about Williams had been “intended as a joke” and were “misinterpreted”.
He also admitted losing his temper during the match but claimed he was reacting to the unequal treatment of the two teams by the chair umpire.
He denied sexual harassment in the case of the comments he directed towards Keothavong.
The ITF said Nastase and the Romanian Tennis Federation had 21 days to appeal against the verdict.