Ilie Nastase said Thursday he is fully cooperating with an International Tennis Federation investigation into his foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior last month. The ITF provisionally suspended the former tennis great after he speculated about the skin color of the baby that Serena Williams is expecting and for outbursts during a Fed Cup match between Romania and Britain.
Nastase said he had responded to accusations made by the ITF and written to apologize to “people who may have been affected or upset” and for “the way they were interpreted.” He said he never intended to “affect anyone’s well-being.”
He also called on the ITF to grant him a hearing to “allow me to personally present my understanding about the relevant events and the conclusions I have reached reflecting on the situation.”
The 70-year-old Nastase acknowledged making mistakes and having shortcomings, but stressed “the cause I fight for is tennis, the sport I really love, which I cannot separate from my life.”
As Fed Cup captain, Nastase hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta, captain Anne Keothavong and the umpire. The referee ejected Nastase.
Nastase, a former top-ranked player who won the French Open title in 1973, will not be invited to the Royal Box on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, where he was a two-time finalist. He has also been barred from the French Open.
However, he said he was confident that the federation’s judges would “use the same standards applied in other cases,” and “analyze my reactions … in their whole context.”
Nastase said he would not comment further until the investigation is completed.