Ilie Năstase superstar: the career and life of the Romanian tennis player, the subject of the NASTY documentary


Ilie Năstase superstar: the career and life of the Romanian tennis player, the subject of the NASTY documentary

„The bad boy of sport”, „magnificent”, „charming”, „temperamental”, „arrogant” – these are just some of the words used over the years by the international press to describe Romanian tennis player Ilie Nastase. The life and career of the first number 1 in the history of the ATP rankings, the controversies that surrounded him and the mark he left on the tennis world are the subject of the documentary NASTY, which will be available in cinemas across the country from 16 April. Combining extraordinary archive footage and interviews with some of the world’s best-known athletes, such as Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Nadia Comăneci and Boris Becker, NASTY tells the story of a unique character. And Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, talks in an exclusive interview about his relationship with Năstase, who was the first professional athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the famous brand in 1972.

The documentary is directed by Tudor Giurgiu, Cristian Pascariu & Tudor D. Popescu and distributed by Transilvania Film. NASTY’s producers are Cosmin Hodor (HDR Evolution) and Tudor Giurgiu (Libra Films) and co-producer is Hanka Kastelicová (Vice President & Executive Producers Documentaries HBO EMEA – HBO Max).

The gala premiere of the film will take place on 16 April at the Sala Palatului in Bucharest, in the presence of Ilie Năstase, the team and special guests such as Ion Țiriac and Nadia Comăneci. Tickets are on sale online –

In 1972, Ilie Nastase won his first US Open and reached the Davis Cup and Wimbledon finals. An irresistible combination of talent, eccentricity and humour made Nasty (the nickname given to him by the press) a true showman admired by fans, commentators and other athletes. After Nastase, tennis was never the same.

„Ilie Nastase on the court was fabulous. This young man from a communist country managed, in just a few years, to conquer the world with his talent and personality. We have been working on this project for 5 years, during which time we have uncovered impressive archives about Nastase’s career and life and had the chance to talk to sports superstars, people who were deeply influenced by him. I believe that, in the end, our efforts will be seen on the big screen – a portrait of a complex, always surprising, hard-to-define character who made history for Romania and for tennis.” Tudor Giurgiu, director and producer.

The first images from NASTY have been released on social media @nasty.themovie (Facebook, Instagram & TikTok). The film’s poster incorporates a portrait of the tennis player created by artist Roger Huyssen to illustrate an interview with Năstase that appeared in Playboy USA magazine in June 1977.

„I have always been fascinated by Ilie Nastase’s ease on the court. And I caught him quite late, playing only exhibition matches. I grew up in the family with his name. Many tennis experts, including Björn Borg, say that only two players in history have had a special grace: Nastase and Federer. When I also read Ilie’s autobiography I decided to make this film. Now that it’s finished, I realise that the superlatives used to describe him are not at all exaggerated. At times, he was even more popular than tennis itself. That’s what I’d like new generations to see in Nasty, – an inspirational figure who shook the world” Cosmin Hodor, co-producer.

„I am very happy to be co-producing this fascinating film about the life of Ilie Nastase – a tennis legend whose matches I enjoyed as a child and whose charisma on the court is still recognised today. The filmmakers have skilfully portrayed the journey of this Eastern European athlete who transcended borders with his talent and personality, which earned him the nickname Nasty for his engaging and often controversial style. This film captures the essence of a true showman, reminding us of Nastase’s legacy and the mark he left on the tennis world.”, says Hanka Kastelicová (Vice President & Executive Producers Documentaries HBO EMEA – HBO Max)

NASTY is produced by Libra Films and HDR Evolution in co-production with HBO and Romanian Television. Presented by Ion Țiriac Foundation, Banca Transilvania, Dedeman, Superbet, with the support of Mastercard. The film is produced with the support of the Romanian Government, the National Centre of Cinematography, LIDL, Vodafone, Henkel Romania, CEC Bank, Regina Maria, HelpNet, Initative Media. Distributed by Transilvania Film.
Media partners: KISS FM, MediaTRUST

More details about NASTY:

More details about the films distributed by TRANSILVANIA FILM:

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