Expletive-laden rant lands Romanian legend in trouble
ILIE NASTASE looks certain to be banned from Wimbledon’s Royal Box over the sexist tirade that got him thrown out of Great Britain’s Fed Cup tie with Romania at the weekend.
Nastase is a regular at the Championships and was spotted in the prestigious seating area in 2015 wearing a Romanian military-style uniform.
The All England Club has stopped short of blacklisting the two-time finalist but tennis pundits say it is inconceivable that he’d be back again after he was thrown out of the arena in Constanta and has been served with a provisional suspension from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
An All England Club spokesman said: “Invitations to the Royal Box are at the discretion of the chairman and committee of management who will take into account a range of factors, including any suspensions, when determining the guest list for the Championships.”
During the World Group II playoff match, Nastase was heard calling Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong and world number seven Johanna Konta “fucking bitches” after they complained about calls from the crowd.
Reactions in Romania have been mixed with fellow sporting great Nadia Comaneci springing to the 70-year-old’s defence — although she warned he must accept any punishment imposed by the ITF.
“Ilie is very patriotic and sometimes he says things that he doesn’t really mean,” said the gymnast.
“Of course Ilie is responsible for what comes out of his mouth, and I think it is important in sport that you keep the respect and good behaviour.
“He will have to deal with [the consequences], but he can survive whatever happens to him. People make mistakes. Everybody in Romania loves Ilie because he is Ilie.”
Konta’s opponent Sorana Cirstea accused the Briton of “exaggerating” the incident by briefly walking off the court.
Despite awaiting punishment by the ITF, Nastase has appeared unrepentant about his expulsion, and insisted he does not care what punishment he is given.
He told the Daily Mirror: “I don’t regret it and they can send me to prison if they want — I don’t care.
“I was just trying to promote the interest of my girl. The English player just stormed off without even asking permission to leave the court and I admit that’s when I called her a bitch.
“She kept trying to keep the crowd quiet — but it’s not an opera, it’s a game.
“I don’t need this bullshit. I’m 70 years old. I don’t even get paid for being team captain. I don’t give a shit if they fine me or don’t let me sit in the captain’s chair.”