Serena Williams hit back hard at former tennis pro Ilie Nastase over an comment he made about the color of her unborn child.
The 70-year-old former world No. 1 player from Bucharest was referring to Williams’ announcement last week that she is expecting her first baby with fiancé Alex Ohanian. His comment in Romanian is clearly audible during the press conference, ESPN reported, and was made to the other players while top Romanian player Simona Halep was being asked about Williams.
The remark did not sit well with Williams, who aired her disgust on Instagram Monday afternoon.
“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 35-year-old wrote.
“I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers — however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.”
However, Nastase — who was nicknamed “Nasty” during his career for his repeated outbursts — told the Associated Press that he was friends with the 23-time Grand Slam champion, and didn’t understand what he had done to cause offense.
“I want to know what word I used is racist?” he asked.
He is now being investigated by the International Tennis Federation, which issued a statement saying: “The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind. 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,” according to ESPN.
Last month, Nastase made unfounded doping allegations aimed at Williams based on her muscular build.
The Romanian captain also got into hot water on Saturday when he was removed from the stands during a match for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Press Association reported that Nastase was heard asking the umpire: “What’s your f—ing problem?” He then appeared to call Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong and Konta “f—ing b—-es.”
See Williams’ full Instagram post below.