(Reuters) – Romanian Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase has been banned from acting in an official capacity at all International Tennis Federation (ITF) team competitions until Dec. 31, 2020, the governing body said on Friday.
The 71-year-old was sanctioned for multiple breaches of conduct rules during a Fed Cup tie between Romania and Britain in April, including making a “highly inappropriate and racially insensitive” comment about Serena Williams’s unborn child.
The governing body’s internal adjudication panel also found him guilty of making “advances of a sexual nature” towards British team captain Anne Keothavong, and “abusive and threatening comments” to members of the British team, match officials and a member of the press.
Nastase, who has been fined $10,000, will also be denied access to, and not granted accreditation for, all official ITF team competitions and tennis circuits until Dec. 31, 2018, the ITF said in a statement.
Grand slam tournaments, which lie outside the ITF’s jurisdiction, are not included in the sanction.
Both Nastase and the Romanian Tennis Federation have 21 days to appeal the decision. There was no immediate comment from Nastase.
The ITF launched its investigation after Nastase was heard speaking in Romanian to one of his team members about Williams’ unborn baby at the Fed Cup draw in Constanta in April.
“Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” the former French Open and U.S. Open champion was quoted as saying.
Williams, who had confirmed her pregnancy through a spokeswoman a few days earlier, is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white.
Nastase’s comment was widely reported in the media, and he was booted out of Romania’s Fed Cup tie against Britain the following day for aiming abuse at the umpire, British player Johanna Konta and Keothavong.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir)