Friday 18 August 2017

Fed Cup tie suspended after Romanian captain Ilie Nastase's outburst leaves British player in tears

File photo dated 09-08-2016 of Great Britain's Johanna Konta PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday April 22, 2017. The Fed Cup tie in Constanta has been suspended, with reports of Romania coach Ilie Nastase being sent off the court and Great Britain's Johanna Konta left visibly upset. Photo credit should read Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
File photo dated 09-08-2016 of Great Britain's Johanna Konta PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday April 22, 2017. The Fed Cup tie in Constanta has been suspended, with reports of Romania coach Ilie Nastase being sent off the court and Great Britain's Johanna Konta left visibly upset. Photo credit should read Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Great Britain's Fed Cup play-off against Romania was sensationally suspended after home captain Ilie Nastase was thrown off the court.

With Johanna Konta leading Sorana Cirstea 6-2 1-2 in the second rubber in Constanta, Nastase became embroiled in a row apparently about noise from the crowd.

The 70-year-old former world number one was reportedly heard to say to the umpire: "What's your f***ing problem?". He then appeared to call Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong and Konta "f***ing bitches".

Nastase was sent off the court by tie referee Andreas Egli and, after taking a seat in the stands, was then escorted back to the locker room.

Simona Halep, who had beaten Heather Watson in the opening rubber, explained to the crowd what had happened and appealed for calm before play briefly resumed.

But Konta was visibly upset and, after playing the next game in tears and dropping serve, the players left the court.

Earlier Nastase had launched into an astonishing rant at a British journalist, calling her "stupid" for reporting his apparently racist comment about Serena Williams' pregnancy.

Romania's captain was unhappy after his comments were reported about Williams' baby, which is due in the autumn. "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?," he was heard to say on Friday.

On Saturday morning before play started, Nastase stormed into the press centre at the Tenis Club IDU to seek out the British media.

Press Association Sport tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks was the only member of the British media present in the press room at the time.

He said to Ms Crooks: "Why did you write that? You're stupid, you're stupid."

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