Following Wimbledon’s lead, the French Tennis Federation announced Saturday it will not give Ilie Nastase a tournament credential this year.
The FFT didn’t indicate if the 70-year-old Romanian might be stopped from entering the premises at all – as Wimbledon has decided.
It’s possible he can just acquire a ticket and walk in. Nastase’s lifelong partner in crime Ion Tiriac has a private box on Court Philippe Chatrier. So you’d have to think this one isn’t over. Because the man can’t take a hint.
The latest snub might actually hurt Nastase a lot more than his banishment from the All-England Club.
Nastase won the French Open in 1973 without dropping a set. He also was a finalist in 1971.
France Nastase’s adopted home
He speaks fluent French (not unlike many Romanians as, unlike other eastern European languages, Romanian is a romance language and bears striking similarities to both French and Italian).
Nastase was made a chevalier (knight) of France’s Légion d’honneur in 2009, for his “impressive sporting career” and “sense of spectacle”. Then-ambassador Henri Paul presented the award to him in Bucharest.
“The French public, because of your fluency, and your relaxed and friendly relationship with it, has adopted you and loves you,” Paul said at the time.
“This medal comes from a country that isn’t my own, but that I love,” Nastase said.
Nastase even wrote a couple of books in French back in the 80s.
One was called “Tiebreak” – a “roman à clef” murder mystery about a few people on the tennis circuit whose names were changed – to protect the guilty. It was translated into English, as well.
We’ll see if this latest snub makes it all finally hit home for Nastase.
He has chosen to go on the attack so far, rather than show any sense of contrition. It makes for good copy. But in the end, only makes him look like an oblivious old fool who just doesn’t get it.