Nastase has tennis bans reduced on appeal

FILE - In this Monday, May 23, 2016 file picture, former Romanian tennis ace Ilie Nastase watches a match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. On Wednesday Feb. 7, 2018 Illie Nastase has two tennis bans reduced following his appeal against sanctions handed out for foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior as Romania's Fed Cup captain last year. The International Tennis Federation suspended the 71-year-old Nastase from the Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019 and from working in an official capacity in the sport until 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON — Ilie Nastase had two tennis bans reduced following his appeal against sanctions handed out for foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior as Romania's Fed Cup captain last year.

The International Tennis Federation suspended the 71-year-old Nastase from the Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019 and from working in an official capacity in the sport until 2021.

Both bans were reduced by eight months by an independent tribunal on Wednesday. His fine was doubled, though, to $20,000.

Nastase, the 1973 French Open champion, had speculated about the skin color of the then-unborn baby of Serena Williams during Romania's Fed Cup match against Britain in April.

In a statement released in Bucharest, Nastase said he welcomed the court's "conclusion that I am not a racist, nor that I had any racist intentions when I made the remark in relation to Ms Serena Williams' child."

He also hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a match, and made "unwelcome advances of a sexual nature" toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong.

Nastase added that, "While I have learned my lesson from this experience, I also hope that now they (the ITF) will realize that their treatment toward me was exaggerated."

He said he would comply with tribunal's decision and not attend Romanian Fed Cup matches this weekend against Canada.

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