Serena Williams has accused Romanian tennis coach Ilie Nastase of racism following remarks he was overheard making about her and her unborn baby last week. The Guardian reports that Nastase, 70, was heard saying of Williams's child: “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” The world no. 1 recently revealed that she is pregnant with her first child. The baby's father, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is white.
In a comment on Instagram, Williams responded to the reports of Nastase's remark and wrote: “It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers."
Williams went on the reference a poem by Maya Angelou, adding: “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.”
Nastase's alleged comments on April 21 came one day before he made a series of offensive remarks during and after a tennis match between Romania and Britain. Romanian coach Nastase was suspended by the International Tennis Federation for calling British coach Anne Keothavong and British No1 Johanna Konta “fucking bitches” during the match. He later reportedly asked his Keothayang for her room number.
The International Tennis Federation has launched an investigation into Nastase's comments.