Tennis: Serena fires back at Nastase for 'racist' comments
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[April 25, 2017]
(Reuters) - Serena Williams on
Monday called the alleged comments about her unborn child made by
former world number one Ilie Nastase "racist" and applauded the
International Tennis Federation for launching a probe into the
Former tennis bad boy Nastase, who won two grand slam titles in the
1970s, was quoted by Romanian and some British media as saying in
response to William's pregnancy announcement: "Let's see what color
it has. Chocolate with milk?"
"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, and sexist comments against my peers," the women's world
number one wrote on her Instagram account.
"I am not afraid unlike you. You see, I am no coward. 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 will rise."
It would not be the first time Williams has been stung by racism as
The world number one boycotted the Indian Wells tournament for 14
years after she and sister Venus and her family claimed they were
victims of racial taunts while Serena played in the 2001 final.
Nastase, 70, has been provisionally banned from all International
Tennis Federation (ITF) events following his verbal abuse of British
players last weekend in his role as Romanian Fed Cup captain.
Williams thanked the ITF and said they would have her full support
as they investigated the matter.
"(The investigation) is ongoing. At this point, one of the
principles that is important is that we want a rigorous process that
is fair," ITF President David Haggerty said on Monday.
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Serena Williams hits a shot during her semi-final match against
Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. REUTERS/Edgar Su
"We will also hear Nastase’s side of the argument. It will be a
thorough process conducted in an efficient manner. I do not think
you will be hearing any final decisions in the next two weeks."
British captain Anne Keothavong, who said she was made to feel
"uncomfortable" by comments made by Nastase at the official
pre-match dinner, said the abuse during play had been unacceptable.
"We expected a patriotic crowd for the Romanian team but we don't
expect abusive language to be used ... what he said directed to both
Johanna (Konta) and myself is ... language that is not appropriate
for anyone to speak to any other human,” she said.
Konta was reduced to tears at one stage.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank
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