REUTERS - Former Romanian world number one Ilie Nastase called Wimbledon organisers “small-minded” after they announced he would not be invited to the Royal Box at this year’s championships.
The 70-year-old was provisionally banned from all International Tennis Federation (ITF) events after verbally abusing opposing team members and the umpire when he captained Romania in a Fed Cup tie against Britain last month.
The former French and U.S. Open champion had already run into trouble after making a derogatory comment about world number one Serena Williams’ unborn child ahead of the World Group II playoff tie in Constanta.
”What does Wimbledon have to do with what I said about Serena and at the match in Romania?“ Nastase told Romanian website ProSport. ”If I did something stupid at Wimbledon then I’d understand... But in this case, I don’t get it.
”In 1973, when everyone else refused to play at Wimbledon (because of a boycott by the Association of Tennis Professionals) but I did -- does that not count for something?
“If they are going to be so small-minded about it, there’s nothing I can do.”
The ITF said last month it was launching further investigations into the incidents during the Fed Cup tie and would make no further comment until they were completed.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru