‘It got to my head’: Italian ace Fognini says HEAT in Tokyo caused him to shout anti-gay slurs at himself during defeat
Fognini exited the Olympics after a three-set defeat to Medvedev on Wednesday, which played out in temperatures of around 30C (86F) and suffocating humidity.
Medvedev complained to the umpire that he felt like he “can die on court” and the Russian star – competing for the ROC team – required medical treatment several times.Also on rt.com ‘I can die’: Russian ace Medvedev fears he could DROP DEAD in Tokyo heat before battling into Olympic quarter-finals (VIDEO)
On the other side of the net, Fognini got hot under the collar and repeatedly slammed his racket during the defeat – including after the final point.
The 34-year-old Italian was also heard berating himself in his native language, using the term ‘frocio’ – which translates as ‘faggot’ or ‘fag’.
After the comments were picked up on international broadcasts, the world number 31 issued an apology on Instagram.
“The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote in a message on a rainbow background.
“In today's match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”
It’s not the first time the fiery Fognini has been embroiled in controversy. At Wimbledon in 2019, the Italian was forced to apologize after saying he wanted “a bomb to explode” on the All England Club.
Two years previously, Fognini was kicked out of the US Open for insulting an umpire during a first-round singles match, being handed a suspended ban from two Grand Slams.
Wednesday’s grueling match against Medvedev further exposed the stifling conditions players have to contend with in Tokyo.Also on rt.com Spanish ace Badosa leaves court in WHEELCHAIR as fears grow for tennis stars in sweltering heat at Tokyo Olympics
Spain’s Paula Badosa was forced to quit her quarter-final against Czech star Marketa Vondrousova after suffering heatstroke, and left the arena in a wheelchair.
Organizers later said the start times for matches would be shifted to later on in the day, in an effort to provide more accommodating conditions for players.Also on rt.com Tennis bosses move Tokyo match times after Medvedev says he ‘could die’ on concerning day of heat exhaustion for players