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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 29 March, 2020

Fed Cup match suspended after verbal abuse leaves GB's Johanna Konta in tears

Romanian captain Ilie Nastase was sent from the stadium after verbally abusing the umpire and Konta.

GREAT BRITAIN’S FED Cup Group II play-off tie with Romania was temporarily suspended this afternoon after Johanna Konta and the match official were verbally abused by former world number one Ilie Nastase.

The Romania head coach, who also caused controversy in the build-up to the game by making comments about Serena Williams’ unborn child, was sent off by the umpire following a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Nastase asked the umpire ‘what’s your f****** problem?’ and then was alleged to have called Konta and Great Britain’s coach, Anne Keothavong, ‘f****** bitches’ as he was escorted away from the court.

A visibly upset Konta — who won the first set against Sorana Cirstea 6-2 — had to be consoled by team-mates and play was halted during the second set before resuming 25 minutes later.

It all began when the umpire asked the crowd to respect both teams, to which Nastase replied ‘it’s not the opera, what’s your f****** problem?’. Simona Halep, the current world number five, was seen asking the home supporters to calm down.

After a lengthy delay to proceedings, Nastase was banished to the stands before being finally kicked out of the tournament.

“His accreditation was removed and he will play no further part in the tie,” said the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in a statement.

“The ITF has launched an investigation into this matter as well as previous comments made by Mr Nastase during the week,” the ITF added, referring to the comments about Williams’s pregnancy.

“The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind,” the governing body for tennis said in a statement to AFP earlier on Saturday when the storm about his comment first broke.

“We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.”

When play did resume, Konta showed incredible composure to seal a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

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Tennis great Nastase investigated for ‘racial slur’ about Serena’s unborn child

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Ryan Bailey

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