Serena Williams' baby joy tarnished by Ilie Nastase's racist remarks

Romania v Great Britain - Fed Cup: World Group II Play Off: Previews

Ilie Nastase is remembered fondly for his mercurial talent on a tennis court. The Romanian's swashbuckling style marked him out as one of the most dangerous opponents during the 1970s, a decade which saw him triumph in both the French and US Open. 

Unfortunately, reputations can be tainted.

Nastase's recent comments about the imperious Serena Williams have seen him lose the respect of both fans and fellow professionals alike. 

As captain of the Romanian Davis Cup team, Nastase was attending a press conference ahead of their hotly anticipated clash with Great Britain. Unprovoked, Ilie made a racist comment while Simona Halep was addressing the media. He exclaimed: "Let's see what colour it is. Chocolate with milk?"

This comment relates directly to Serena's implicit pregnancy Snapchat, earlier this week. It has since been confirmed that the American is expecting her first child with co-founder of social news media website Reddit, Alexis Ohanian.

While many were quick to congratulate the 23-time champion, Nastase's remarks have left a sour taste in the mouth, across the tennis community. 

It is not the first time Nastase has made derogatory comments relating to Williams. Earlier this month, the former world number one intimated that Serena must have taken performance enhancing drugs, simply due to her impressive stature.

In a world where we should be celebrating the majesty of an all-time great who was able to win the US Open whilst pregnant, comments like this seek to demean the reputation of the sport.

The International Tennis Federation is said to be investigating Nastase's words while the Romanian tennis federation have kept tight-lipped on Friday's remarks.

More controversy for Nastase

For Nastase, the controversy does not end there. 

Notorious for being somewhat of a ladies man both during and after his playing days, the Romanian was openly flirtatious with a married and 18-week pregnant Anne Keothavong.

During Thursday's official dinner, the 70-year-old openly asked for the British captain's room number. He persisted when posing for photographs, stating "we keep being attracted".

Romania v Great Britain - Fed Cup: World Group II Play Off: Previews

Keothavong did not comment on Ilie's antics, however, it will surely only add fuel to the controversial remarks made about Serena's pregnancy. 

The tie between Romania and Great Britain begins at the Tenis Club IDU on Saturday. World number 5 Simona Halep taking on Heather Watson, followed by Johanna Konta and Irina-Camelia Begu. The tie promises to be a tightly fought contest between the two nations.

If Nastase does not help to secure victory for his team, it will almost certainly be a week to forget in an otherwise sparkling career.

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