Sports

Madrid Open owner won't hand out trophies, upset with WTA

BUCHAREST, Romania — Madrid Open organizer Ion Tiriac said Tuesday he won't award any more trophies at his tournament because he is upset by the way his friend Ilie Nastase has been treated by the WTA.

In an open letter to WTA CEO Steve Simon, Tiriac said he has decided not to hand out gold, diamond and solid silver replicas to winners of the women's event following "aggressive public commentaries" by the WTA.

Romanian player Simona Halep won the Madrid Open in May. Nastase was photographed next to her during the trophy presentation, three weeks after the Romanian Fed Cup captain was ejected from the event for directing verbal abuse at the British team.

After Simon called Nastase's presence "irresponsible and unacceptable," Tiriac said the WTA should apologize to Nastase.

The 70-year-old Nastase has been provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation following his comments about the colour of Serena Williams' unborn baby and for his foul-mouthed outbursts during the Fed Cup in Romania. Williams called Nastase's comments toward her racist and his verbal abuse of players as sexist.

Halep said Nastase's comments during the match were "wrong."

Nastase later apologized in a statement on Facebook, saying his comments about Williams were "spontaneous" and he wouldn't try to defend his words against the British team. The ITF is investigating the incident.

The 78-year-old Tiriac also called on ITF president David Haggerty to "act in a fair and lawful manner" and allow a public hearing of the probe into Nastase's behaviour at the Fed Cup.

More on Metronews.ca