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WTA slams 'unacceptable' Madrid Open over Nastase ceremony appearance

Nastase presented Simona Halep with her trophy last night.

Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase
Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase

THE WTA HAS labelled the Madrid Open “irresponsible and unacceptable” after disgraced Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase was invited to take part in Saturday’s trophy presentation ceremony.

Nastase is serving a provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after his foul-mouthed outburst during last month’s Fed Cup play-off against Great Britain

That came after the 70-year-old made a derogatory remark about Serena Williams’ unborn child.

However, Nastase still took to the court to celebrate Simona Halep’s title defence after his countrywoman defeated Kristina Mladenovic in the Spanish capital, much to the disappointment of WTA chief executive Steve Simon.

“It was an exciting final match and I heartily congratulate Simona and Kristina for their outstanding display of tennis,” Simon said in a statement.

“The only shadow cast on the day was Mr. Nastase’s invitation to participate in the award ceremony.

“He had no place on court. He is currently under a provisional suspension by the ITF for his prior offensive actions and we revoked his credential privileges 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.”

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