Britain foiled by Romania
Britain has failed to gain promotion to the Fed Cup World Group II following a very acrimonious play-off at the weekend in Constanta, Romania, where the hosts won 3-2.
I think it's really important for me to separate what happened yesterday and the tennis match today. Jo Konta
The tie was overshadowed by the abusive antics of the Romanian team captain, Ilie Nastase, which saw him evicted from the premises, his accreditation removed as well as being banned from the Tenis Club IDU with an investigation by the ITF into his actions hanging over him.
When being evicted by the security on Saturday, he was heard screaming that he could do anything in Romania where he is idolised and he proved that point by walking into the VIP lounge on the following day!
For the record, Simona Halep defeated Jo Konta 6-1 6-3 and then Irina-Camelia Begu beat Heather Watson 6-4 7-5 to give the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-rubber tie.
The dead doubles rubber provided some consolation for the visitors with Jocelyn Rae partnering Laura Robson to a 6-3 1-6 10-8 victory over Halep and Monica Nicolescu.
But while the result was disappointing for the visitors, the weekend will be remembered for the abusive and unacceptable language used by Nastase. Had that affected the result? Had Konta concentration been affected? She did eventually win the match against Cirstea the previous day only to be then accused of gamesmanship by her opponent.
The British number one said following her match against Halep on Sunday: "I think it’s really important for me to separate what happened yesterday and the tennis match today. I think Simona played well and came out and played a lot freer than I was expecting.
"There’s obviously an effect that yesterday had on me. However, it has to be about the tennis and I gave my best today with what I had.
"I think it’ll be something I’ll do my best to overcome and to just understand. It’s not something I’ve ever experienced before and I hope never to experience it again.
"I felt the crowd today were a lot fairer and I felt they supported Simona well."
Responding to Cirstea’s gamesmanship comment, Konta added: "With all due respect to Sorana, she wasn’t on my side of the court, she didn’t feel verbally threatened, she wasn’t in my shoes.
"I think there may have been a lack of communication to her about what was going on on my side of the court and I do believe she only had half of the facts but I think nobody should have to put up with – in life or in any way – to feel verbally threatened and subjected to that sort of abuse.
"I’ve never had anything like that before, I’ve never been in an environment like that before. Hopefully in a few days’ time or a week or however long it takes, it will be something I look back on and say: ‘Well yes, at least that’s under my belt and another great experience’.
"But it’s not something I would wish anyone to go through."