LONDON: Responding to controversial Romanian former world No1 Ilie Nastase’s comments about her, American tennis legend Serena Williams has accused him of racially abusing her and her unborn baby.
Nastase was overheard on Friday at a press conference for the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Britain saying about the current world No 1’s unborn baby: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”, reports Guardian.
The statement clearly rankled Williams as her fiance Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of the Reddit website, is white.
Williams confirmed on Wednesday that she was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child after posting an image of her baby bump.
Nastase, 70, was also heard to call her and British No1 Johanna Konta “f****** b******” in an outburst that led to his provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and expulsion from the competition being held in Constanza, Romania.
“It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers. I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers - however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right,” Williams said on Instagram.
The 35-year-old American player further asserted that she was not afraid, and directed questions to Nastase: “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 rise.”
Nastase was expelled from the stadium on Saturday after swearing at officials, as well as at Keothavong and Konta, however, the Romanian has remained defiant about his expulsion and has made no apology for his conduct.