Serena Williams accuses Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and unborn child

US tennis great responds to controversial Romanians chocolate with milk comment at Fed Cup tennis meeting in Romania

American tennis player Serena Williams has accused Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and her unborn baby as she made her first response to comments the Romanian former world No1 made about her.

Nastase was overheard on Friday at a press conference for the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Britain saying about the current world No 1s unborn baby: Lets see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?

Williams confirmed on Wednesday last week that she was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child after posting an image of her baby bump. Her fiance Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of the Reddit website, is white.

Nastase, 70, the Romanian team captain, had also asked his British counterpart Anne Keothavong for her room number.

He was also heard to call her and British No1 Johanna Konta fucking bitches in an outburst that led to his provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and expulsion from the competition being held in Constana, Romania.

In a comment on Instagram, Williams wrote: It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers.

I have said it once and Ill say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers – however there are a plethora more to go.

This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for whats right.

Serena
Serena Williams with baby bump in a photograph posted on Instagram. Photograph: Serena Williams/Instagram

The 35-year-old American player said she was not afraid, and directed questions and a defiant statement to Nastase: Does my sassiness upset you. Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words … you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I rise.

Williams also thanked the International Tennis Federation, adding: They will have my full support.

Nastase was expelled from the stadium on Saturday after swearing at officials, as well as at Keothavong and Konta. He also directed an aggressive rant at a Press Association journalist.

The Romanian has remained defiant about his expulsion and has made no apology for his conduct. I dont need this bullshit. Im 70 years old. I dont even get paid for being team captain. I dont give a shit if they fine me, he told the Daily Mirror.

His friend, the former gymnastics star Nadia Comneci, was one of the few public figures in Romania to criticise Nastase.

I cannot condone or defend his recent ugly and very offensive remarks I am a great supporter of women in sport and I would never condone any kind of sexist comments of this kind, whether they are from Ilie Nastase or anyone else, she said.

Meanwhile, Keothavong questioned whether Nastase should have been appointed as Fed Cup captain given his notoriously volatile temperament.

Clearly his behaviour on court over the weekend and leading up to this tie was inappropriate and in hindsight maybe he shouldnt have been put in the position that he was, she told Sky Sports News.

You walk out on to court as a tennis player expecting to be in a safe environment and expecting to be playing against a partisan crowd thats understandable but you dont expect to be verbally abused when youre out there just trying to do your job.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/25/serena-williams-accuses-ilie-nastase-of-racially-abusing-her-and-unborn-child