Serena Williams slams 'Nasty' remark about her baby
Romanian Ilie Nastase denies he said anything racist
Serena Williams on Monday called the alleged comments about her unborn child by former world No. 1 Ilie Nastase "racist" and applauded the International Tennis Federation for launching a probe into the remarks.
Nastase, who won his two grand slam titles in the 1970s, was quoted by Romanian and some British media as saying in response to William's pregnancy announcement: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"
"It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers," the women's world No.1 wrote on her Instagram account.
"I am not afraid unlike you. You see, I am no coward."
Nastase, 71, was unrepentant Monday in an interview with The Associated Press.
"I want to know what word I used is racist?" he asked The AP s by phone on Monday from Budapest, Hungary. He added he was a friend of Williams.
Nastase has been provisionally banned from all ITF events following his verbal abuse of British players last weekend in his role as Romanian Fed Cup captain. He hurled expletives at British player Johanna Konta, Britain captain Anne Keothavong and the umpire. The referee ejected Nastase from the tie.
"Yes, I lost my temper," he said by phone.
But he didn't believe his punishment was proportional.
"It was crazy, it was crazy," he added.
Nastase earned the nickname "Nasty" for his on-court outbursts and gamesmanship in his playing heyday in the 1970s. But it also described his game, which earned him seven Grand Slam titles, two in singles, and more than 100 ATP titles. He's in the tennis hall of fame.
Retakes world No. 1 ranking
Thanks to a calendar quirk, Williams is briefly back at No. 1 in the WTA rankings, despite not playing a match since January — and with plans to take the rest of 2017 off because she is expecting a baby.
She moved up one spot Monday from No. 2, swapping places with Angelique Kerber.
The return to No. 1 , which gives the 35-year-old American her 317th week there, comes less than a week after Williams let the world know via Snapchat that she is pregnant.
with files from Associated Press