Ilie Nastase under investigation over Serena Williams comment

Ilie Nastase is facing an investigation into comments he made about Serena Williams. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Laureus

Ilie Nastase could face disciplinary action after apparently making a racist comment about Serena Williams' pregnancy on the eve of Romania's Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain.

At a news conference on Saturday to preview the matches in Constanta, Romania's captain was heard to say of Williams' baby, due in the fall: "Let's see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?"

Williams announced Wednesday she is expecting her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian, who is white, and will take time away from the tour.

Nastase was not asked about Williams, but he made the comment, in Romanian and clearly audible, to the other players while Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep was answering a question about the 23-time grand slam singles champion.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched an investigation and said in a statement: "The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behaviour 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."

The Romanian tennis federation, of which Nastase is a former president, declined to comment.

They were the second controversial remarks made by Nastase about Williams in a month. In an interview with Romanian media, the former world No. 1 made unsubstantiated allegations of doping by Williams, based on her physique.

Nastase's controversial behavior continued later Saturday, when he was removed from the stands during the second match, between Johanna Konta and Sorana Cirstea, for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Press Association reported that Nastase had been heard to say to the umpire: "What's your f---ing problem?" He then appeared to call Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong and Konta "f---ing b----es."

The 70-year-old, who had a reputation as a playboy during and after his playing career, had previously made Keothavong feel uncomfortable with a number of inappropriate remarks earlier in the week.

Having asked for her room number during the event's official dinner on Thursday, Nastase then repeated the request when the captains posed together for photographs following Friday's draw, and he put his arm tightly around Keothavong's shoulder. When both teams were called back together, Nastase said to Keothavong, who is married and 18 weeks pregnant with her second child: "We keep being attracted."

Konta approached the umpire to complain during her match and left the court in tears, with her British teammates and Keothavong joining her in the locker room as play was suspended for around 20 minutes.

Halep -- playing in her hometown of Constanta -- spoke to fans to ask them for calm, and play eventually resumed, with Konta winning five games in a row to seal a straight-sets victory.

Information from PA Sport was used in this report.