Fabio Fognini facing further sanctions after verbal abuse of female umpire

Fabio Fognini is ready to accept whatever punishment comes his way for his verbal abuse of an umpire at the US Open.

The Italian was initially fined US$24,000 after using extremely derogatory language towards Swedish official Louise Engzell during his first-round singles loss.

On Saturday, the Grand Slam Board announced it was investigating whether Fognini had committed a Major Offence under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct and he was provisionally suspended from the tournament.

As a consequence he and fellow Italian Simone Bolelli were unable to play their third-round doubles match, while he could face further sanctions, including a fine of up to $250,000 and/or a ban from future grand slam events.

Fognini's initial apology on Twitter was hardly effusive but, in an interview with Sky Sports Italia, the 30-year-old fully held his hands up and insisted he was not a misogynist.

"I apologise to all," said Fognini, "Not only to the umpire, to whom I apologised already in New York, but to all those who felt hurt, women in the first place: I have nothing against them.

"Being described as a sexist has hurt me because it is not true: I am a father, I'm married, I have a mother, a sister, I have always loved and respected women, so I'm sorry.

"The gravity of my gesture I understand, I know I did something heavy. At this moment, in addition to giving my apologies, I am willing to go into a tennis school or any kind of school to talk to children and say that I'm wrong and it will not happen any more."

Fognini is known as one of the most volatile players on tour and this is not the first time he has been in trouble for a similar offence. At Wimbledon in 2014 he was handed a record fine of $27,500.

Fognini revealed he has been working with a mental coach to try to combat such behaviour.

He said: "I have to say that in the last period we were on the right track, then this nonsense I did is not explainable. I take my responsibilities, I know I have done a very foolish thing and I have paid the consequences now.

"I know the thing is still fresh and I could have other sanctions, and I am ready to pay."

Fognini insisted he would never act in such a way on court again.

"I cried when I was alone, I admit it," he said. "I cried because in the end I know I'm not that way. There will not be (a next time)."


 

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