Serena Williams said she is disappointed by racial comments made by retired tennis player Ilie Nastase.
Nastase, who won two Grand Slam titles in the 1970s, said of Williams’ unborn child, “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?”
Last week Williams, who is black, announced she and her fiancé, Alex Ohanian, who is white, are expecting their first child.
Nastase, 70, earlier this month also levied unsubstantiated claims of doping upon Williams based on the physique of the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Nastase, who earned the nickname “Nasty” during his prime for his fiery on-court presence, told the Associated Press on Monday that he considers Williams a friend and asked, “I want to know what word I used is racist?”
The retired Romanian’s comments on Williams’ child were made at a Fed Cup news conference ahead of Romania’s home match against Great Britain.
His poor behavior at the Fed Cup was not limited to the news conference as he harassed a chair umpire before appearing to lob obscenities at members of the Great Britain delegation. Additionally, Nastase is said to have made British captain Anne Keothavong uncomfortable by asking for her room number on more than one occasion during the lead up to the matches between the two countries.
Nastase’s comments led to his ejection from the match between Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and Britain’s Johanna Konta, who left the match in tears. He was also suspended by the International Tennis Federation, which runs the Fed Cup, but said he doesn’t believe the punishment fits the crime.
“It was crazy, it was crazy,” Nastase told the AP of his suspension, though he did concede, “Yes, I lost my temper.”
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