Top 10 Off-Court Moments of 2017: Offensive remarks from former champs

by: Kamakshi Tandon | December 01, 2017

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Ilie Nastase is a former world No. 1 from Romania. (AP)

With the destination of the Davis Cup determined, the professional tennis season has come to a close. Thus, we begin our look back at 2017, a memorable year on and off the court. Our Top 10 On-Court Moments, and our Top 10 Off-Court Moments, will remind you of everything that transpired.

There were a lot of political controversies involving former champions. Margaret Court weighed in against same-sex marriage in Australia, creating a backlash that included fellow players like Martina Navratilova, Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua. It became such a big topic that a comment was even required from the Prime Minister of Australia.

Ilie Nastase, meanwhile, pulled off quite a feat of offensive behavior as the Romanian Fed Cup captain during the country's tie against Great Britain. The former Grand Slam champion drew censure at every turn—speculating on the skin color of Serena Williams’ unborn baby during the team's press conference, making suggestive and inappropriate remarks to British captain Anne Keothavong at the draw, confronting a female British journalist in the press room, and finally hurling abusive language towards the British team on court and getting sent off for the tie. The ITF subsequently suspended him.

John McEnroe chastised both Court and Nastase in a sponsor TV spot, but then found himself in some hot water of his own. Asked by a radio interviewer why he had referred to Serena Williams as the "greatest female player" and not the "greatest player" in his book, McEnroe responded, "Because—if she played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world." Cue a heated if tired debate, including about whether there should be a debate at all.

Ilie Nastase made headlines by saying some very questionable things in 2017:

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