Serena Williams responded Monday to Ilie Nastase’s alleged racist comments about her unborn child.
Nastase was allegedly heard saying, “Let’s see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?” in Romanian when one of his players was discussing Williams’ pregnancy during a press conference. The former singles champion has a reputation for bad behavior and is nicknamed “Nasty.”
His comments were made in reference to Williams’ fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, who is white. Williams ― who announced her 20-week pregnancy last week ― addressed Nastase’s remark in a text post on Instagram.
”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,” Williams wrote in her Instagram post.
The mother-to-be made it clear that she was not about to be discouraged.
“This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything I do,” Williams added. “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 went on to quote Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Still I Rise.”
Her response was tweeted by Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Earlier on Monday, Williams posted a happier message for her unborn child to her Instagram account in celebration of being ranked once again as tennis’ No. 1 female player. She said that her unborn child gave her “strength I didn’t know I had.”
The International Tennis Federation has suspended Nastase while it conducts an investigation into his alleged remarks. This comes only days after Nastase was ejected from a Fed Cup match for calling members of the British team “bitches.”
“The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behavior of any kind,” the federation said in response to the allegations.