A Leopard never changes his spots: The life of "Nasty" Nastase - UBITENNIS
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A Leopard never changes his spots: The life of “Nasty” Nastase

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As the old saying goes, wisdom really comes with age; this is usually true, with a few notable exceptions as we have seen watching the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Great Britain. The 70-year-old Romania’s captain Ilie Nastase has been the talk of the town for the entire weekend, sadly for all the wrong reasons.

 

For those old enough to have witnessed the tennis of the 70’s, Ilie Nastase has been one of the most controversial, histrionic players on the tour. His tennis skills were magical, but his court antics quickly gave him the nickname “Nasty“.

The 1972 U.S. Open and 1973 Roland Garros singles champion became the ATP first number 1 but his career was also known for his fines and disqualifications: here are our top 3 classic “Nasty” moments.

3) Wimbledon 1977 – Nastase vs Borg

Nastase won almost every major event, but he failed to conquer the Championship, defeated in 1972 final by Stan Smith and in 1976 by Bjorn Borg. A year later he faced again “Ice” Borg in the quarterfinals and quickly lost the 1st set with the humiliating score of 0-6. During the match his on-court shenanigans shocked the tennis establishment, but did not translate into a victory.

2) Masters 1975 – Nastase vs Ashe

The prelude of this unique episode in the tennis history began the evening before the match, when Ilie met Ashe at a cocktail bar and told him “Hey Negroni, tomorrow I will make you sweat”. The day after Nastase showed the full repertoire of his tricks, arguing with the umpire, talking with the crowd and tactically delaying the game in such a way that even the normally unflappable Arthur finally decided he had enough and left the court.

1) U.S. Open 1979 – Nastase vs McEnroe

In the 2nd round of the 1979 U.S. Open, the New York crowd witnessed one of the most bizarre matches ever played, when John “Super Brat” McEnroe faced the thirty-three year old Ilie. The Romanian was in the twilight of his career, but he had not mellowed with age.

Nasty’s behaviour reached an all-time low that night, and even the great umpire Frank Hammond could not do anything but surrender to Ilie’s antics, giving him a game penalty and later on declare the match won by McEnroe by default. The rowdy tennis fans started to throw paper cups and beer cans onto the court. In order to avoid a possible riot, the tournament referee Mike Blanchard replaced Hammond in the chair and the play resumed. McEnroe eventually won the match in 4 set.

Fed Cup

Fed Cup Finals And Play-Offs Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns

The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to fears over the Coronavirus.

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April’s Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to current health concerns associated with the coronavirus. 

 

Today’s announcement comes hours after the Hungarian government announced a ban on any indoor events which has more than 1000 people in it.

The Fed Cup finals were due to take place between the 14th and 19th of April in Budapest but the increasing amount of cases around the world and 13 in Hungary left the ITF with no choice.

In addition, April’s play-offs have also been postponed and will be moved to a later date, with the ITF finding away to solve the problem around eligibility for the summer’s Olympic games.

Speaking on the announcement, ITF President David Haggerty expressed his disappointment but insisted health is more important, “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators,” Haggerty said.

“This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.

“New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.”

The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs are the second tennis event to be postponed because of the coronavirus after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled a couple of days ago.

Currently the Miami Open is set to go ahead although there is a big chance that this tournament could also be cancelled.

The ATP and WTA tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium is set to start on Monday the 25th of March.

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Fed Cup

Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest

Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

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Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest. 

 

The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.

In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.

Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.

Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.

Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.

Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.

On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.

Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.

In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.

Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:

Group A

France

Russia

Hungary

Group B

Australia

Belarus

Belgium

Group C

USA

Spain

Slovakia

Group D

Czech Republic

Germany

Switzerland

Semi-Finals

Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C

Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D

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Fed Cup

Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw

Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.

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Harriet Dart and Anne Keothavong (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers. 

 

The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.

Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.

However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.

There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.

14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.

Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:

(C) = Choice of Ground 

Brazil v Poland (C)

Great Britain v Mexico (C)

Canada v Serbia (C)

Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

Japan (C) v Ukraine

Romania (C) v Italy

Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)

Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC

 

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