Halep frowns at Nastase's abusive behaviour
Romania's top star hits out at compatriot for abusive behaviour
Simona Halep will not stand behind Ilie Nastase, and she does not know if the former world No. 1 can stay as Romania's Fed Cup captain, but she believes the criticism of Romanian fans at the match against Britain was unfair.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix here in Stuttgart, world No. 5 Halep made it clear that her Romanian compatriot Nastase had crossed the line with his abusive behaviour during the Fed Cup play-off tie between Romania and Britain last Saturday.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Nastase allegedly cursed at the umpire during a heated discussion and reportedly hurled abuse at Johanna Konta and Britain captain Anne Keothavong, calling the latter two "f****** b******".
Nastase, nicknamed "Nasty" for his antics as a player, was ejected from the stadium.
"I didn't like the way he talked and I cannot accept that. We cannot defend him in that direction," said Romanian Halep, who has not enjoyed the best of starts to 2017.
"I think this is going to be difficult (for Nastase to stay as captain) because what he did was wrong.
"I don't know if he will be our captain... if he is not banned. I don't decide on these things."
The 70-year-old Nastase has been suspended by the International Tennis Federation for his abusive behaviour as well as his controversial comments about world No. 1 Serena Williams' unborn baby.
Nastase was overheard by a journalist last Friday commenting on Williams' unborn child - who will be of mixed race as her fiance is white - saying: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"
Halep revealed that Nastase had been critical of her in the media in the past, but he had never crossed the line with her.
"He was criticising me in the press... but I respect him because of what he has done in tennis," added Halep, who was upset at some factions blaming Romanian fans for their part in the incident.
"He cannot change himself now at (age) 70. So I can accept what he is talking about me, but he never talked dirty or whatever with me.
"But also, what happened at the weekend was too much - everyone was exaggerating everything and I was really upset that they blamed the crowd, (because) the crowd was very fair, they didn't do anything," said Halep, who famously trounced Serena Williams 6-0, 6-2 in a group-stage match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global in 2014.
Currently 44th in the Road to Singapore standings, she is far from the top-eight positions to qualify for another appearance at the season-ender in Singapore in October.
But the 25-year-old believes that the mental adaptations she is making to her game will help her get back on track.
"Before, I was maybe a little too negative (during difficult moments in matches), maybe because of injuries. I'd get a little bit scared and would panic, but now I'm just trying to be positive, even if I lose some matches," she said.
"This year, I didn't start that well, but still I have confidence that I can achieve some good results.
"I am not panicking (as I used to)… I think I'm more positive now.
"I've been working hard on the mental part, it's a big challenge."
Yesterday, Halep defeated Czech Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-3 in her second-round match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where Maria Sharapova is making her return to action after a 15-month doping ban.
The Russian opened her campaign against Italian veteran Roberta Vinci in a Round-of-32 this morning.