Fed Cup tennis – Gymnast legend Nadia Comaneci defends “patriotic” Ilie Nastase

Apr 25, 2017
Ilie Nastase (left) and Nadia Comaneci.

Legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci has defended compatriot Ilie Nastase following his outburst during the Fed Cup win over Great Britain.

Romania captain Nastase swore at the umpire before abusing Johanna Konta and GB captain Anne Keothavong on Saturday.

He was banned from the tie and later handed a provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

“Ilie is very patriotic and sometimes he says things that he doesn’t really mean,” said Comaneci.

“Everybody in Romania loves Ilie because he is Ilie.”

But Comaneci, a close friend of two-time Grand Slam champion Nastase, warned the 70-year-old must accept any punishment imposed by the ITF.

“Ilie is responsible for what comes out of his mouth, and I think it is important in sport that you keep the respect and good behaviour,” she added.

“He will have to deal with it [the consequences], but he can survive whatever happens to him. People make mistakes.” – BBC Sports