The ITF has upheld their decision to punish former world No.1 Ilie Nastase for his behaviour during a Fed Cup tie last month, but has agreed to slightly reduce his suspension.
71-year-old Nastase caused a series of controversies last year during a Fed Cup clash between Romania and Great Britain. On the eve of the tie, he commented that Serena Williams’ baby will be born ‘chocolate with milk.’ Drawing condemnation that his comment was racist, which he denies. He was also accused of making an unwanted sexual gesture towards the British team captain Anne Keothavong.
The controversy extended onto the court. During one of the matches, he engaged in a heated confrontation with Keothavong and Johanna Konta. Calling both women ‘bitches’ and was later removed from the court before being later suspended from the tie. A day later he returned to the venue to have lunch with a group of friends.
Last July the ITF suspended Nastase for three years and fined him $10,000 for his behaviour. Under the ruling, he is prevented from attending, or working at any tournament sanctioned by the ITF. Although grand slam tournaments are exempt from this as they are covered by a different governing body. The same applies to the ATP and WTA Tours.
Appealing against the decision, the ITF has now ruled that the Romanian should be fined an additional $10,000 in relation to his original sanctions. On the other hand, his suspension has been reduced by eight months. Meaning the former Fed Cup captain will be allowed to act in an official capacity from April 24th 2020.
“In relation to the original sanctions imposed by the ITF Internal Adjudication Panel, the Tribunal has increased the amount of the fine by $10,000, and has reduced both the length of suspension and denial of access to competitions and circuits by approximately eight months.” A statement reads.
The ITF has categorised Nastase’s offences from serious to low-range offending. In total he was found guilty of breeching four rules. These relate to his on-court behaviour, remarks to Keothavong, comments about Williams’ baby and his behaviour with the media.
The serious offence: The board has found Nastase’s outburst on the court the most serious because it ‘took place in the middle of the Match in front of thousands of tennis fans in the stadium.’ They said his actions were the ‘heart and spirit’ of inappropriate behaviour in international sporting events.
The mid-range offence: Nastase’s threats to the media has been described by the ITF as ‘unacceptable conduct.’ In one incident, he called a Press Association journalist ‘stupid’ when challenged about his comments concerning Williams’ baby. The investigation pointed out that the Romanian knows how to appropriately interact with journalists given his 50-year career in the tennis industry.
The low-range offences: Nastase’s comments about Williams’ baby and what he said to Keothavong fall into this category. The ruling says that they ‘did not find it useful’ to distinguish one incident from the other in terms of classifying them.
Nastase hails ruling
In a statement, Nastase has described the reduction of his suspension a ‘victory’ for him. Gazeta Sporturilor reports that the outcome of the decision will enable the Romanian to attend high-profile tournaments without any questioning.
“In view of the Independent Tribunal’s decision, I am confident that there will be no longer any grounds to refuse my access to or accreditation at the major ATP and WTA competitions this year, such as the Madrid, Roland Garros or Wimbledon Tournaments, nor at the WTA from Bucharest.” Said Nastase.
“I’m happy to have the spirit of the big tennis tournaments again. I have dedicated my whole life to this sport and I think I am justified in continuing to take part in this phenomenon.”
Speaking about the incident, Nastase has expressed some remorse by saying that he has ‘learned from his lesson.’ On the other hand, he has also accused the ITF of treating him ‘excessively’ with their original punishment.
“I will not comment on this topic anymore. The details of the content of the Independent Tribunal’s solution will be given by my lawyers, whom I thank for my help in supporting my case.” He stated.
There has been no reaction from Williams or the British Fed Cup team regarding the latest decision.
Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up
Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.
Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.
The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.
However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.
Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.
This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.
Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.
Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.
Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain
Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.
Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.
Evans eases by Shapovalov
Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.
The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,
Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.
Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.
Auger Aliassime responds for Canada
Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.
The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.
The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.
The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.
Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.
This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.
Canada wins deciding doubles
With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.
A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.
Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022
The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.
Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.
Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.
However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.
The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.
“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.
Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.
“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.
The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.
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