Ilie Nastase: Romania's Fed Cup captain to quit game if punished by ITF

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Johanna Konta tears & Nastase sent off - dramatic scenes at Fed Cup

Ilie Nastase will quit tennis if he is banned over derogatory comments he made about Serena Williams' unborn child.

Williams accused Nastase of racism after he was overheard asking if the child would be "chocolate with milk".

Nastase apologised in a Facebook post on Friday, but later told BBC Sport: "For me it's not racial. Somebody in England thinks it is."

The Romania captain also insulted Johanna Konta during a recent Fed Cup tie, and called a journalist "stupid".

"English people considered it was racist and everybody picked it up like that," he said of his remarks about Williams.

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

"Romanians don't think it was a racial word. The only person who can get upset maybe is Serena, but not you people in England. Why does everybody else get upset? I don't understand. Whatever."

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched an investigation into those remarks, and into his outburst that left Britain's Konta in tears on Saturday.

WARNING: Some people may find the language below offensive

After Konta and Britain's captain Anne Keothavong had 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.

Before play had even started, Nastase insulted a British journalist over their reporting of his comments about world number one Wiliams, calling the Press Association's tennis correspondent "stupid".

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

On his comments to Konta

On Friday in an interview with the BBC, he justified his behaviour by claiming he abused Konta and Keothavong as a member of the crowd - that he was no longer acting as captain, having been sent off.

"Let's start with the umpire because I asked what's his problem and he said to me: 'If you don't sit down, I'm going to throw you out of the game,'" Nastase said.

"I sit in the front row and the guy came and said: 'You have to leave the stadium.' Then I start to scream at Konta and the other girl. That's what I did.

"I was not on the court, I have to remind you that. I was thrown out of the game. I said that from the crowd. I wasn't on the court, there is a difference. I'm not anymore the coach of the team.

"I was upset when they throw me out of the court. Then when he said to leave the stadium also then I was upset because the girls they said they didn't want me in the stands anymore. So then I scream at her and the coach."

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."

On his future in the game

Nastase was suspended by the International Tennis Federation on Sunday, pending further investigation into "a breach of the Fed Cup welfare policy".

The ITF added that the provisional suspension meant he "may not participate in the Fed Cup in any capacity with immediate effect".

"If I am not allowed to go and sit in that chair, I'm not going to go. I've got other things," Nastase said of his future in the sport.

"I've a lot of businesses. I just said the same to the [Romanian] federation because the girls, they want me in the chair.

"I'm 71 years old. I was number one in the world - I want to see how many number ones go to watch a girls' match. I want to see that person. I don't get money, I don't get anything.

"How many players would do that? And they want to suspend me."

'Nastase asked me if I was a virgin'

On Sunday, former US Open finalist Pam Shriver claimed Nastase - a former world number one - also made inappropriate comments to her when she was a teenage star of the women's tour.

Shriver, now 54, said Nastase repeatedly asked her if she was a virgin.

"Whenever I saw him at any tournament he would ask me the same question," she told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek.

"This man has not been respectful of women for a long, long time."

When asked about Shriver's remarks on Friday, Nastase said: "You're going to go back again another 20, 25 years ago?

"I was so good in England that I have a statute at Madame Tussauds. Are they going to destroy it and throw it out?

"Because of this situation are you going to wipe everything? I mean it's ridiculous what you think. Are you going to judge me what happened today with what happened years ago?

"People can like me, people can hate me. It's the same thing when you play a tennis match."

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