No royal welcome for nasty Ilie Nastase at Wimbledon

May 4, 2017
No royal welcome for former tennis world No 1 Ilie Nastase at this year’s Wimbledon Open.

Former world No 1 Ilie Nastase will not be invited into the royal box at Wimbledon this summer, All England Club chairman Philip Brook has announced.

The news comes in the wake of Nastase’s suspension by the International Tennis Federation, pending an investigation into his behaviour at last month’s Fed Cup tie against Great Britain, among other incidents.

Romania team captain Nastase, 70, was ejected from the match in Constanta following a foul-mouthed tirade directed at his British counterpart Anne Keothavong and British No 1 Johanna Konta.

The All England Club indicated last week that it would block the two-time finalist’s customary invitation to the royal box, and this was confirmed by Brook at the Wimbledon spring press conference on Wednesday.

Brook said: “What he did, we have to say, his actions were not very good, and we condemn them.

“In terms of an invitation to the royal box, he is not going to receive an invitation this year.”

Nastase has been provisionally suspended by the ITF following a series of controversial incidents over the weekend of the Fed Cup tie, which included much-criticised comments about Serena Williams’ unborn baby, and culminated in an ugly rant directed towards Keothavong and Konta.

The row occurred during Konta’s singles match with Sorana Cirstea and, although a distraught Konta eventually won that rubber, the Romanians went on to clinch the match.

Nastase initially said he had no regrets about his conduct during the tie but later issued an apology, albeit while claiming “I think what happened was exaggerated from all sides”.

Wimbledon has also announced this year’s men’s and women’s singles tennis champions will receive £2.2m each, a hike of £200,000.

Tournament chiefs unveiled an increased total prize pot of £31.6m, up from last year’s £28.1m.

The bigger pot benefits players throughout the draw, with first-round singles losers set to walk away from the All England Club with £35,000. – Sky Sports