A contract lasting almost half a century between Adidas and Ilie Nastase has been terminated, the Romanian former grand slam champion announced on Thursday.
Mr Năstase, 75, was one of the first tennis players to be sponsored by the sporting manufacturer giant in 1972.
The contract was signed when he was world no. 1 and was worth 100,000 dollars a year, a fortune at the time.
Now the agreement has expired. “I don’t have a contract with Adidas. If I do something in the future, it will be in my own name, without a sports brand,” he told Telekom Sport.
Adidas had a life-long contract with Nastase, he said. The German sportswear company suspended it in 2017 after he made racist comments about U.S. tennis player Serena Williams.
Mr Nastase who was Romanian team captain at a World Group II playoff, speculated about the color of the skin of Ms Williams’ unborn child. He also swore at the umpire and „made advances of a sexual nature” to the British team captain.
The International Tennis Federation banned him from any official roles in tennis until 2021 and fined $10,000 for his foul-mouthed outbursts during the Fed Cup tie between Great Britain and Romania in April 2017.
Adidas has produced various items featuring the tennis player known as “Nasty” over the years.
The German company started in the 1920s. It designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike.