Wednesday 19 December 2018

Full details of Ilie Nastase's vile conduct at Fed Cup tie revealed - but Romanian has ban shortened

Ilie Nastase
Ilie Nastase

Simon Briggs

On the same day when Great Britain’s Fed Cup team were due to return to action for the first time since last year’s debacle in Constanta, Ilie Nastase – the troublemaker in that match last April – has had his ban shortened after an appeal to the International Tennis Federation.

Yet this was not a straightforward victory for Nastase, who was Romania’s captain during that turbulent tie. Not only has his fine been doubled from $10,000 to $20,000, but the full details of his outrageous conduct have been made graphically clear. In hindsight, he may wonder whether the appeal was worthwhile.

To cover the upside for Nastase first, he had originally been banned from attending tournaments, or being accredited for them, until December this year. The ban will now run out in April, so that it lasts for exactly 12 months, while he will also be allowed – theoretically speaking – to return to official tennis duties in April 2020 rather than December 2020, as before.

Meanwhile, apart from this fiddling around the edges, the ITF have also chosen to make public the on-court exchange with referee Andreas Egli, which happened during Johanna Konta’s match against Sorana Cirstea on the first afternoon of the tie.

According to the transcript of the hearing, Nastase said: “The LTA [Lawn Tennis Association] is paying the ITF and you are part of it, you f****** a*******, c***sucker.” He also told Egli: “You know that you are not going to leave the country.”

This latest misdemeanour only adds to the pile of charges against Nastase, 71, a former world No 1 and two-time major champion. He is already known to have joked that Serena Williams’s then-unborn baby would be coloured like “chocolate with milk”, to have aimed the phrase “f****** bitches” at Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong as he left the court, and to have called the Press Association reporter Eleanor Crooks “stupid” and “ugly” in a threatening exchange outside the Tennis Club IDU.

But the ITF did add a little more detail today to Nastase’s sleazy approaches to Keothavong at the pre-tie dinner. According to the transcript, he asked her for her room number and said “Neither of us are playing any more so it doesn’t matter”. When Keothavong responded that she is married, he replied: “Me too, that doesn’t matter.” The following day, Nastase put his arm around her at the draw ceremony and said “We keep being attracted.”

In Nastase’s attempts at mitigation, he said that these comments were made not as a sexual advance but as a joke. But the ITF upheld all the original charges, ruling that this was a clear case of sexual harassment.

The British Fed Cup team have not yet commented on this latest ruling from the ITF, as they were due to face Portugal this afternoon in the Euro/Africa Zone 1 Group Stage in Tallinn.

Online Editors

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