Johanna Konta defiant as Nastase rant row overshadows tie
Captain Ilie Nastase is said to have made insulting remarks to the umpire, Britain’s pregnant captain, Anne Keothavong, and Konta
Bucharest — Johanna Konta defended herself for walking off court as Romania brushed aside controversy about captain Ilie Nastase to beat Britain 3-1 in their scandal-hit Fed Cup play-off on Sunday.
Nastase, 70, a former world No1 and two-time Grand Slam title winner, was kicked out of the tie on Saturday after a foul-mouthed rant compounded his controversial racial slur over Serena Williams’s unborn baby.
Nastase is said to have made insulting remarks to the umpire, Britain’s pregnant captain, Anne Keothavong, as well as their No1, Konta.
The latter burst into tears, leading to the rubber being temporarily suspended, and left the court, subsequently being criticised by her opponent at the time, Sorana Cirstea, for overdoing it.
"With all due respect to Sorana, she was not in my shoes on that end of the court being verbally threatened," Konta, who according to some reports was abused by a fan, told the BBC on Sunday.
"Any abuse is not alright, but when it is a couple of metres away from you, screaming at you, I think that is a different ball game.
"It is not something that you truly know how it affects you until you experience it, so I do believe she may have been slightly unaware of the events."
The International Tennis Federation said it was looking into Nastase’s behaviour on Saturday and the day before, when he was overheard making derogatory remarks about US superstar Williams.
Romania let their tennis do the talking on Sunday, sealing the World Group II tie when Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Heather Watson 6-4 7-5 in Constanta. However, the victor did not shake hands with her opponent at the end of the rubber, according to reporters.
Simona Halep, who on Saturday had urged the crowd to calm down, had earlier put the hosts in control by beating Konta 6-1 6-3.
Defeat relegated Britain to the Europe/Africa Zone.