ITF president slams Nastase abuse after Konta is reduced to tears

Johanna Konta said the abusive language which she was subjected to from Ilie Nastase "snowballed" and "got out of hand".

British tennis player Johanna Konta   -  Getty Images

International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty slammed Ilie Nastase for the "unacceptable" verbal abuse that resulted in Johanna Konta being reduced to tears in the Fed Cup play-off between Romania and Great Britain.

Romania captain Nastase is under investigation after he was ejected from the tie on Constanta on Saturday, having ignored two official warnings for comments made to Konta and GB captain Anne Keothavong during the world number seven's rubber against Sorana Cirstea.

The ITF had already stated it would launch an investigation on Friday after Nastase was accused of making a derogatory comment about Serena Williams' unborn baby just days after the legendary American revealed she is expecting her first child.

A day later Nastase hit the headlines again for the wrong reasons after insulting Konta, leading to the 70-year-old being removed from the stadium and banned from the rest of the tie.

Konta was also targeted by the crowd and broke down in tears when leading 3-1 in the second set, but returned to complete a 6-2 6-3 victory and level the tie at 1-1.

"It was just unfortunate that I think the crowd took initiative from the Romanian captain's behaviour," said Konta.

"The abusive language of everybody there who was there, it kind of snowballed. Once you promote something like that, it gives courage to a lot of people to think it's okay. It quite frankly got out of hand.

"I think for tomorrow, most importantly we're 1-1 in the tie. Both for our team and the Romanian team, I am sure I speak for them when I say we just want to go out there and compete. 

"It's incredible for the Romanian crowd to be supportive of their players. There's nothing wrong with support. It's just as long as it's kept fair and it’s not insulting."

ITF president Haggerty said: "This is unacceptable behaviour by a Fed Cup captain. No player, official, member of the media or fan should have to endure any kind of abuse, and Mr Nastase will rightly play no further part in this tie. 

"A formal investigation is already underway and any decision or sanction will be made by the ITF's Adjudication Panel. We are unable to comment further on an ongoing investigation."

The beaten Cirstea questioned why Konta had to leave the court.

"I understood that there was something from the crowd but the supervisor told me now that he [stopped play] because she started crying at 3-1," she said.

"I would like to understand what happened but I think the Romanian public is okay, they are quite fair ... and did not do anything out of the ordinary and were trying to encourage me in a very nice way."

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