SERENA Williams has accused Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and her unborn child. By Own Correspondent
The 35-year-old tennis star announced she was pregnant with her first child last week.
Nastase, a former world number one, was heard saying to the other players: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”
The Romania Fed Cup captain, 70, made the remark in Romanian at a news conference ahead of his country’s play-off match against Great Britain last weekend.
The baby – which is due in the autumn – will be Williams’ first child with fiance Alexis Ohanian, 33, the co-founder of the website Reddit.
Responding to Nastase’s comments on Instagram, Williams wrote: “It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racists comments towards myself and unborn child”
She went on to say the International Tennis Federation had her “full support” in their investigation into Nastase’s behaviour.
Williams also criticised the Romanian captain for his behaviour towards her fellow female tennis players, accusing him of “making sexist comments against my peers”.
During Romania’s match against Great Britain, Nastase was banned from the court after swearing at the umpire and abusing Johanna Konta and captain Anna Keothavong.
Play had to be suspended due to the outburst and Konta left the court in tears.
Before the match, he also asked Keothavong for her room number in front of the media.
“This world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go,” said Williams.
“This or anything else will not stop me from pouting love, light and positivity into everything that I do.”
In her statement she also quoted the American civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
“I am not afraid like 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 the air, I rise.”
The 23-time Grand Slam champion became engaged to Mr Ohanian in December.