London - Romanian
tennis legend Ilie Nastase was sensationally kicked out of the Fed Cup
on Saturday after a foul-mouthed rant compounded his controversial
racial slur over Serena Williams' unborn baby.
captain of Romania's Fed Cup team was escorted from the Constanta venue
where a World Group play-off was taking place against Britain after
swearing at the umpire, the British skipper and a visiting player.
He was heard to call pregnant captain Anne Keothavong and national number one Johanna Konta "fucking bitches".
The day before, Nastase was overheard making derogatory remarks about US superstar Serena Williams's pregnancy.
see what colour it (the baby) has. Chocolate with milk?," he said in
Romanian, remarks then reported widely internationally, including by a
British female reporter who he then berated, describing her as "stupid"
The controversy in Romania overshadowed what was meant
to be the weekend's main Fed Cup business - the semi-finals where
Belarus and Switzerland are locked at 1-1 while the United States are
also level against defending champions Czech Republic.
International Tennis Federation (ITF) said that Nastase had been
expelled from the tie against Britain for "serious misconduct" and
hinted at further punishment.
After his slur against Williams, who will give birth in September, Nastase was still raging on Saturday.
He was warned twice by the umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct as Konta took on Sorana Cirstea in the day's second rubber.
Nastase screamed at the umpire: "It's not the opera, what's your fucking problem?"
broke down in tears after the abuse and the match was held up for 25
minutes before Nastase was banished to the stands and then escorted out
of the venue by burly security guards.
"His accreditation was removed and he will play no further part in the tie," said the ITF in a statement.
ITF has launched an investigation into this matter as well as previous
comments made by Mr Nastase during the week. The ITF does not tolerate
discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind."
Konta went on to beat Cirstea to level the tie at 1-1 after Simona Halep had seen off Heather Watson.
"The abusive language of everybody who was involved snowballed," said Konta.
who was reportedly propositioned by Nastase despite being pregnant and
married, said she was stunned by his behaviour.
"What Nastase said
to me and Johanna is language that is not appropriate for anyone to
speak to any other human," she told fedcup.com.
However, Cirstea leapt to the defence of Nastase and the crowd.
supervisor told me he stopped play because she (Konta) was crying. The
Romanian public are quite fair and did not do anything out of the
ordinary," she said.
"It was great to have Nastase's experience on the bench...it was a nice surprise to see that he is very human and caring."
added: "I have played all over the world and I have been called
'bitch', 'arsehole', 'idiot', got all kinds of signs. But I never cried
and left the court."
The semi-finals were reduced to a sideshow by the Nastase controversy.
In Minsk, Timea Bacsinszky beat Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-4, 7-5 to pull Switzerland level 1-1.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich had put Belarus into the lead beating Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Belarus are bidding for a first Fed Cup final spot while Switzerland were runners-up in 1998.
Tampa, the United States, Fed Cup winners on 17 occasions, were 1-1
against the Czech Republic who have taken the title five times in the
last six seasons.
Coco Vandeweghe eased to a 6-1, 6-4 win over
17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova before Katerina Siniakova defeated
Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-3.
The Czechs are missing their four leading
singles players, including world number three Karolina Pliskova and
two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who is recovering from
fighting off a knife-wielding intruder in December.