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Tennis

WTA blasts 'irresponsible' Madrid Open over Ilie Nastase invite

The Romanian great was on court in Madrid to celebrate compatriot Simona Halep's successful title defence, drawing criticism from the WTA.

Update:
WTA blasts 'irresponsible' Madrid Open over Ilie Nastase invite
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The WTA has criticised organisers at the Madrid Open over the "irresponsible and unacceptable" decision to allow disgraced Romania Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase to take part in Saturday's trophy presentation ceremony.

Nastase is serving a provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after his foul-mouthed outburst during last month's Fed Cup play-off against Great Britain.

That came after the 70-year-old made a derogatory remark about Serena Williams' unborn child.

However, Nastase still took to the court to celebrate Simona Halep's title defence after his countrywoman defeated Kristina Mladenovic in the Spanish capital, much to the disappointment of WTA chief executive Steve Simon.

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Nastate invite "cast shadow" on Halep title defence

"It was an exciting final match and I heartily congratulate Simona and Kristina for their outstanding display of tennis," Simon said in a statement.

"The only shadow cast on the day was Mr. Nastase's invitation to participate in the award ceremony.

"He had no place on court. He is currently under a provisional suspension by the ITF for his prior offensive actions and we revoked his credential privileges at WTA events while the investigation is being completed.

"It was both irresponsible and unacceptable of the Madrid Open to bestow him an official role. The Madrid tournament is a Premier-level event and held to the highest standards of professional tennis and leadership which were not reflected."

The Madrid Open is owned and operated by Romanian former tennis player Ion Tiriac, a French Open doubles champion in 1970. 

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