Serena Williams says she is “disappointed” by remarks made by Ilie Nastase speculating on the skin color of her unborn child.
In a statement published on Instagram Monday evening, Williams reacted to the Romanian former tennis professional turned coach, who was suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for his behavior during the Fed Cup competition in Constanta Saturday.
In addition to swearing at British team captain Anne Keothavong and team member Johanna Konta, leaving Konta in tears, Nastase, 70, was overheard in a question-and-answer session saying about Williams’ unborn child: “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?”
“It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers,” Williams wrote on Instagram after Nastase called her colleagues “fucking bitches.”
“ This or anything else will not stop me from pouring light, love and positivity into everything I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right,” she wrote.
She went on to quote the lines “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom?” from the poem “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou.
The ITF is already carrying out an investigation into Nastase’s comments about Williams.
Williams, 35, will not play again this season after announcing her pregnancy Wednesday. Williams is engaged to Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit.
Nastase has not apologized for his conduct. He told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: “I don’t need this bullshit. I’m 70 years old. I don’t even get paid for being team captain. I don’t give a shit if they fine me.”
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