Serena Williams has responded to comments about her unborn child that were made by retired tennis pro Ilie Nastase on Saturday at a news conference ahead of the Romania Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain, according to ESPN.
Nastase, who is the captain of the Romania team, reportedly made a comment in Romanian that was clearly audible to other players about Williams’ pregnancy, which she announced Wednesday.
“Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” Nastase, who was not asked to comment about Williams, said.
Williams, who is black, is expecting her first child with fiance and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white.
The International Tennis Federation is investigating and said the following in a statement:
The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behavior of any kind. We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action.
Earlier in the month, Nastase also made claims that Williams had been doping, basing the remark solei on her physique.
Williams responded to the comments about her unborn child in a statement posted on Instagram, saying, “It disappoints me to know that we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers.”
“I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers, however, there are a plethora more to go. This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything I do,” Williams wrote. “I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right. I am not afraid, unlike you. You see, I am no coward.”
Williams also expressed support for the ITF’s investigation into Nastase.