Ilie Nastase Says Sorry for Racial Comment About Serena Williams

Ilie Nastase Says Sorry for Racial Comment  About Serena Williams

LONDON – Ilie Nastase tried to apologize for the derogatory comments he made towards Serena Williams during her exit at the Fed Cup last weekend.

The former tennis player released a statement on Facebook one week after speculating on the color of the child’s skin that Williams is expecting.

Nastase, who won both the French and US Open, was overheard saying of Williams’s unborn child: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?” Williams, whose fiancé Alexis Ohanian is white, posted a strong response on Instagram, saying: “It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child.”

“At the press conference I was asked what opinion I had about Serena being pregnant. I then found out for the first time (she was pregnant) and my reaction was spontaneous”

Nastase added that Williams is “one of the greatest players in history and I am aware of all the efforts she has made to achieve such results.”

Williams is of Afro-American origin, while her fiancé Alexis Ohanian is of Caucasian origin.

Former tennis player Ilie Nastase PHOTO ALASTAIR GRANT, AP ARCHIVE
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase
PHOTO ALASTAIR GRANT, AP ARCHIVE

Nastase was also criticized for insulting player Johanna Konta and British team captain Anne Keothavong during a Fed Cup match. He said he would not try “to defend my words, but I can assure you that behind them was my desire to defend the interests of the Romanian team and Romanian tennis.”

Despite the apology, he took another shot at Konta.

“I think what happened was exaggerated from all sides. Nonetheless, Johanna Konta should not have spoken with the chair umpire, that’s what the team captain does,” Nastase said. “I asked her in a civilized way for some explanations and she sent me to the tribune where I was removed as captain. After this, the umpire suspended the match. I don’t know why the match was suspended.”

Romania won the 3-2 match, but Nastase was banned from the International Tennis Federation.

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