Serena Williams has maintained her dignity throughout the furore which has followed former Grand Slam champion and Romanian team captain Ilie Nastase’s foulmouthed rant during the Romania-Great Britain women’s Fed Cup tie in Constanta.
Nastase was, we submit, rightly banned from the Fed Cup tie against Britain, after an incident that left Johanna Konta in tears and her match suspended.
In Konta’s match against Sorana Cirstea, Nastase was sent off after swearing at the umpire and abusing Konta and her captain, Anne Keothavong. The 70-year-old is also alleged to have asked Keothavong for her room number.
But it was his highly racially insensitive remarks about World No 1-ranked Williams’ pregnancy which leaves an even more bitter taste. British tennis writer Eleanor Crooks had reported Nastase’s remarks on the pregnancy, saying “it was unnecessary to make such a comment about colour”.
Serena’s reaction was markedly low key. “It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and my unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers,” she said.
“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.”
Game, set and match.