Nastase tennis bans reduced 8 months on appeal, fine doubled

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LONDON (AP) Ilie Nastase had two tennis bans reduced by eight months and his fine doubled to $20,000 on Wednesday following his appeal of International Tennis Federation sanctions for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as the Romanian Fed Cup captain.

The ITF suspended the 71-year-old Nastase from Fed Cup and Davis Cup events and from working in an official capacity in the sport after his outbursts in April. On Wednesday, the independent tribunal found Nastase in breach of four articles of the ITF’s welfare policy.

The tribunal agreed that Nastase, the 1973 French Open champion, hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match and made “unwelcome advances of a sexual nature” toward Britain’s captain Anne Keothavong.

The tribunal ruled Nastase can attend ITF competitions, such as Fed Cup and Davis Cup, starting on April 24. The ban doesn’t apply to Grand Slam, ATP or WTA tournaments, which are not under the ITF’s jurisdiction.

He can return in an official capacity to ITF events on April 24, 2020.

The tribunal also backed the ITF’s judgment that Nastase made “abusive and threatening comments to a member of the accredited media” and “racially insensitive” remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn baby of Serena Williams.

However, Nastase issued his own interpretation Wednesday in a statement released in Bucharest.

Nastase said he welcomed the “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.”

Williams had called Nastase’s comments toward her racist and his verbal abuse of players as sexist. Nastase apologized last April in a statement on Facebook.

“While I have learned my lesson from this experience, I also hope that now (the ITF) will realize that their treatment toward me was exaggerated,” he said in the statement Wednesday.

Nastase, a former top-ranked player, was barred last year from the French Open and was not invited to the Royal Box at Wimbledon, where he was a two-time finalist.

Nastase earned the nickname “Nasty” for his on-court outbursts and gamesmanship in his playing heyday in the 1970s.

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
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PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”