Nasty turns nasty
The Fed Cup play-off between Romania and Britain is poised at 1-1 following wins by the nation’s respective number one players — Simona Halep beat Heather Watson 6-4 6-1 and Jo Konta levelled the five-rubber tie with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
It's not what we've come here for. We've come here to play a competitive match against Romania in a fair environment and we certainly don't expect verbal abuse." Anne Keothavong
However, play was overshadowed by the Romanian captain/coach, Ilie Nastase who started to hurl abuse at both the umpire and the British team before he was evicted from the stadium in the IDU Tennis Club in Constanta.
Nastase, a former world number one in the seventies with two singles grand grand slam titles to his name, was always known as a rebel which eventually earned him the nickname of Mr Nasty and on this occasion, he lived up to that epithet when he abused the umpire Jaume Campistol, the tie’s referee Andreas Egli, as well as Konta and GB captain Anne Keothavong.
In order of abuse, he berated umpire Campistol for asking the crowd to quieten down and respect the players during the Cirstea/Konta match, to which Nasatse angrily told him: This is not the opera, what’s your f***ing problem?
He was warned for his language but continued to argue resulting in him being banished to the stands but as he left the court he addressed Keothavong and Konta as F***ing bitches and then the referee as a F***ing a******e which resulted in his eviction from the stadium itself.
The International Tennis Federation has launched an investigation and removed his accreditation, meaning he will not be able to attend the final day of the tie on Sunday.
The incident upset Konta who was a set and 1-1 up, but she managed to play one more game on resumption to lose her serve but then broke out in tears. Keothavong called on the umpire to suspend the match, which he did for 20-minutes during which time Simona Halep spoke to the crowd in an attempt to ease the situation as they were chanting for Ilie.
When the match got under way for a second time, Konta ran away with the rubber winning five consecutive games to level the tie, only to be accused by her opponent of gamesmanship by crying to stop the match and declaring she was too soft!
“I’m not happy,” Cirstea said. “Johanna, speaking tennis wise, she was better than me today. My problem was, and I still do not understand, why the match was stopped at 2-1.
“I did not hear what Ilie said, I understand you take Ilie out, perfect. Then we play another game, I win it, and then suddenly you started crying and let’s go off the court.
“I’ve played all over the world, they called me from gypsy to bitch to a***hole to idiot. They were doing like (mimes slitting throat) to me. I never cried and left the court, I stay there and I play.
“Afterwards I go to the umpire and I ask him what do I do? I stay on the court, I go out? He said, ‘I don’t know’. I went to the supervisor, I said, ‘What do I do, how long is the break?’ He said, ‘I don’t know’.
“We did not exist any more, it was only the English team. And then when she (Konta) comes back on court she says, ‘I’m sorry’, so she knew she exaggerated.
“You don’t do this, you stay and play. And the public was okay. They didn’t do anything. And now they say they feel threatened.
“We are in Romania, everyone was so nice, we treated you guys so nice. I don’t feel it’s right that you put all this on us because we’re a lower country than England. You were from the beginning expecting to jump.
“Next time I’m in trouble I will cry, maybe I can go off the court. As Romanians we get double insulted because of our nation, but it’s okay, we are tough. Tougher than English people apparently.”
Konta, speaking before Cirstea’s press conference, said: “It was just unfortunate that I think the crowd took initiative from the Romanian captain’s behaviour, the abusive language of everybody who was involved, it kind of snowballed.
“It has left me a little bit unnerved, but I love the sport. I am excited for the fact that the stadium was sold out, it meant that people were coming here to watch us play great tennis and that’s all I’m here for. So I would just like to be able to do that tomorrow, and compete the best I can.”
Nastase’s antics followed some equally unnecessary and inappropriate comments he made the day before at the draw when he asked for Keothavong’s room number and conjectured on the colour of Serena William’s unborn child. For that he was already being investigated by the ITF who will have to now extend the investigation to also cover his abusive language on Saturday.
He had aslo gone into the media centre and told the PA journalist who reported those comments made by him during the draw, that she was stupid!
Keothavong was not happy and said after the incident: “What he said to both Johanna and myself, it’s not something I am going to repeat because it’s language that is not appropriate for anyone to speak to any other human in that particular way.
“It’s not what we’ve come here for. We’ve come here to play a competitive match against Romania in a fair environment and we certainly don’t expect verbal abuse.”
Quotes from Sporting Life