London | Nastase appeals ban
Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase has appealed after being banned from official roles by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) until 2021.
The sanction followed his tirade at a Fed Cup tie in Bucharest in April.
He swore at an umpire, insulted British number one Johanna Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong and made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams’ unborn child.
Nastase, 70, was also fined $10,000 (£7,700).
As it stands, as well as being prevented from taking any official roles, he will not be accredited for ITF events until 2019.
An independent tribunal will be arranged to hear his appeal.
Grand Slam tournaments are not included within the sanction, nor the respective ATP or WTA Tours, as they lie outside the jurisdiction of the ITF.
The ITF adjudication panel said his comment about Serena Williams’ unborn child was racially insensitive, adding that he made advances of a “sexual nature” towards Keothavong.
Nastase said his comments were intended as a joke and had been misinterpreted.
WARNING: Some people may find the language below offensive
During the Fed Cup in April, Romanian player Simona Halep was answering a question in English about former world number one Williams and her pregnancy. Nastase then turned to one of his other team members and added in Romanian: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Speaking to BBC Sport earlier in the year, he defended his comment, saying: “For me, it’s not racial. Somebody in England thinks it is.”
Former world number one Nastase also put his arm tightly around Keothavong and asked for her room number, in earshot of the watching media.
The following day before play had even started, Nastase insulted a British journalist over their reporting of his comments about Williams, calling the Press Association’s tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks “stupid”.
Later, after Konta and Keothavong 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.
Nastase, who won the US Open in 1972 and the French Open the following year, has said he would quit tennis if he was banned.