Great Britain’s Fed Cup match in Romania took a chaotic turn as Romanian captain Ilie Nastase was sent from the stands and British No.1 Johanna Kontaleft the court in tears.
The drama occurred in the second match of the day, with Konta leading Sorana Cirstea 6-2 1-3. Nastase — who had already made controversial remarks about Serena Williams’ unborn child prior to the match — was escorted from the stadium following a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Press Association reported that Nastase had been heard to say to the umpire: “What’s your f***ing problem?”. He then appeared to call Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong and Konta “f***ing b******.”
Konta approached the umpire to complain and left the court in tears, with her British team-mates and Keothavong joining her in the locker room as play was suspended for around 20 minutes.
Romanian No.1 Simona Halep — playing in her home town of Constanta — spoke to fans to ask them for calm and play eventually resumed, with Konta winning five games in a row to seal a straight-sets victory.
Halep had earlier tried to defend Nastase over his comments about Williams, stating: “He’s joking all the time and I’m 100 per cent that was a joke.
“I don’t believe that was something bad coming from him but I think it was not respectful a little bit with his comment. But we cannot get upset on Ilie, he’s like that and he’s with us the same.”
The Euro Africa Zone tie now stands at 1-1, with Halep having defeated Heather Watson in the first match of the day. The winner will qualify for the World Group, a level Britain has not reached in 24 years.