Romanian tennis legend suspended until end-2020 after Fed Cup bad behavior

Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase, a former Roland Garros and US Open winner and an ATP number one in the 1970s, has been suspended from acting in an official capacity in official International Tennis Federation (ITF) team competitions, individual competitions, and official ITF tennis circuits until December 31, 2020, the federation decided on Friday, July 21.

Nastase, now aged 71, will also be denied access to, and not granted accreditation for the ITF competitions and circuits until December 31, 2018. The Romanian also received a fine of USD 10,000.

The ITF’s sanctions come after Ilie Nastase’s negative behavior at the Fed Cup World Group II Playoffs tie between Romania and Great Britain, organized in April in Constanta at the Romanian seaside. Nastase was the Romanian team’s captain.

During the event, Ilie Nastase made advances of a sexual nature towards Anne Keothavong, the captain of the Great Britain team, and also made abusive and threatening comments to a member of the accredited press. He also made abusive and threatening comments to the match officials and to members of the Great Britain team, refused to leave the court, and deliberately interfered with the opposing team, reads the ITF statement.

Before that, Ilie Nastase made a controversial statement about Serena Williams and her unborn child, which was seen as being racist. These actions brought him a temporary suspension from the International Tennis Federation, which was now extended until the end of 2020.

Ilie Nastase and the Romanian Tennis Federation each have 21 days to appeal the decision to an Independent Tribunal, according to ITF.

In a press release posted on his Facebook page, Nastase said that he learned about the ITF decision with “disappointment, but not with surprise.” He ended his message by saying that he would direct his “quest for justice to independent and impartial forums, in order to benefit from a just and fair treatment.”

“The Panel issuing the decision has proved the persistence of this Federation to treat my case in a completely special and biased manner, just like the entire Romanian team was treated during the Fed Cup playoff in Constanta,” wrote Ilie Nastase.

According to him, the ITF’s decision “is far from the standards applied in all existing precedents, in which the International Federation applied significantly less severe sanctions for much more serious violations (cases of doping, cases in which players threatened with death or even physically assaulted referees).”

“I conclude, from reading the decision, that it was impossible for the Panel within the International Federation to treat this case in a non-biased manner, which would have required the endeavor to ignore the interests of the British Federation in the settlement of the case. While the tie between the Romanian and British teams had an ITF supervisor who was British, now the investigation initiated against me following the complaint of the British Federation was settled in London by a panel whose representative is also of British nationality.”

He also explained that he lost his temper during the Fed Cup match between Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and Great Britain’s Johanna Konta after the British player committed 40 violations of the tennis regulations.

Ilie Nastase has been known for his behavior and foul language on the tennis court back when he was playing and was even nicknamed Nasty.

Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase apologizes and explains his recent negative reactions

Irina Marica, [email protected]