Serena Williams took to Instagram to thank the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for investigating Ilie Nastase, who recently made tasteless remarks about Williams’ unborn child.
“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,” she wrote. “I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers- however there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand for what’s right.
“I am not afraid unlike you. You see, I am no coward. “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words... you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise.
“I humbly thank the ITF for any consideration given to all the facts in this case. They will have my full support.”
Williams’ Instagram post was in response to Nastase, Romania’s tennis captain, who was heard making racist comments regarding Williams’ unborn child at a news conference on Saturday. The 23-time grand slam singles champion announced she is expecting her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian, who is white.
“Let's see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?" Nastase said in Romanian.
Nastase was not asked a question and made the comments while Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep spoke about Williams.
In a statement, the ITF announced it has launched an investigation into Nastase for her comments:
"The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour of any kind. We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action."
Nastase went after Williams not too long ago.
In late March, he made an allegation Williams was doping to the Romanian website Digisport. Those allegations were based entirely on her physique.
BBC Sports’ Russell Fuller also reported Nastase put his arm tightly around British team captain Anne Keothavong, who is pregnant with her second child, and asked for her room number. He made the comments a second time on Friday, per Fuller.
Nastase was also thrown out of a match on Saturday and provisionally suspended from tennis, according to CNN, after he verbally abused a chair umpire and the opposing tennis team during Romania's World Group II playoff matchup against Great Britain.