Fabio Fognini hit with suspended two-Slam ban
Fabio Fognini will trigger a two-tournament ban from Grand Slams if he commits another major offence in 2018 or 2019, following his obscene remarks at the US Open.
The 30-year-old called Swedish umpire Louise Engzelle ‘troia’ and ‘bocchinara’ during his first-round match at Flushing Meadows – which translate from Italian as “whore” and “c***sucker”.
Fognini is now walking a disciplinary tightrope and faces missing two Slams – one of which must be the US Open – if he commits another major offence at tennis’ flagship events over the next two seasons.
The Italian was also fined $96,000 (£72,800) – in addition to earlier fines of $24,000 – although the penalty could be reduced to $48,000 if he abides by the rules.
Despite losing the match to compatriot Stefano Travaglia in August, Fognini was later thrown out of the US Open, forcing him and partner Simone Bolelli to withdraw from the men’s doubles.
“Mr Fognini will be suspended from participation in two Grand Slam tournaments, one of which must be the US Open, except that any such suspensions will not be imposed if no further Grand Slam Major Offence conviction occurs through and including 2019,” read a statement from the Grand Slam Board.
“If a further Grand Slam Major Offence is committed during the period, the full penalties will be re-instated in addition to any other penalties imposed for the subsequent Grand Slam Major Offence.”
Fognini, who will not appeal the decision, has already apologised for his outburst:
"I apologise to all. 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's not true. I’m a father, I’m married, I have a mum, a sister, I’ve always loved women."
"I’m ready to go to the schools to talk to the kids about my mistake. I know the severity of my gesture, I know I did something heavy. At this moment, in addition to addressing my apologies, I am willing to go into a tennis school or any kind of school to talk to children and say what I think, that is, I’m wrong and it will not happen anymore.
"It’s my limit, I recognise it and I’m working with a mental trainer. I have to say that in the last period we were on the right track, then this nonsense I did is not explainable."