The International Tennis Federation is considering disciplinary action against Romania’s Fed Cup captain after he reportedly made a racist comment about Serena Williams during a Friday news conference.
Ilie Nastase, a former men’s world No. 1, reportedly said the following about Williams, who is pregnant with her first child: “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?”
In December, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white.
“The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behavior of any kind,” the ITF said in a statement. “We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.”
On Saturday, Nastase was ejected from the court and banned from the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Great Britain after he made a series of foul-mouthed remarks toward the British.
British No. 1 Johanna Konta was leading Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 1-2, when Nastase got into a confrontation with the chair umpire about the crowd noise.
“What’s your [expletive] problem?,” Nastase reportedly told the umpire. He also reportedly referred to Konta and Great Britain’s captain Anne Keothavong “[expletive] bitches.” He was then escorted out of the stadium.
The ITF and ITF President David Haggerty released statements on the incident, noting that “a formal investigation is already underway.”
Nastase also sparked controversy in March when he accused Williams of doping in a Romanian publication.
“Russia’s image when it comes to sport suffered a lot because of doping, but it’s pretty clear in Serena’s case as well. Don’t you see how she looks like?” Nastase said, according to Digisport.ro. “No one controls the Americans when it comes to doping.”