Ilie Nastase: Madrid Open 'irresponsible' to invite Romanian to ceremony says WTA
Romanian Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase’s presence at the Madrid Open trophy presentation ceremony was “irresponsible and unacceptable”, said the head of women’s tennis.
Nastase, 70, is under investigation by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) following his behaviour at last month’s Fed Cup tie with Britain.
However, Nastase shared the stage with Madrid champion Simona Halep on Sunday.
“He had no place on the court today,” said WTA chief Steve Simon.
Nastase, a former French and US Open champion, was ejected from the Fed Cup tie in Constanta after abusing British player Johanna Konta and captain Anne Keothavong.
The incident followed a derogatory remark from Nastase about 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams’ unborn child.
An ITF investigation was subsequently launched and Nastase has since been banned from the upcoming French Open and Wimbledon tournaments.
He was present on Sunday, however, to watch his Fed Cup team member Halep beat Kristina Mladenovic and win the title in Madrid – a tournament owned and run by fellow Romanian, Ion Tiriac.
“The only shadow cast on the day was Mr Nastase’s invitation to participate in the award ceremony,” said Simon, chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
“He is currently under a provisional suspension by the ITF for his prior offensive actions and we revoked his credentials at WTA events while the investigation is being completed.
“It was both irresponsible and unacceptable of the Madrid Open to bestow him an official role.
“The Madrid tournament is a Premier-level event and held to the highest standards of professional tennis and leadership which were not reflected today.”