Fabio Fognini apologises for anti-gay slur at Olympics and blames it on Tokyo heat

Emmanuel Macron arrives in Tokyo for the Olympics

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Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini has apologised after using homophobic slurs during his third-round defeat to Daniil Medvedev. Fognini blamed the oppressive 30 degree heat at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for his offensive mistake.

During the match, Fognini could repeatedly be heard angrily self-referring as a ‘frocio’ – an anti-gay term in the Italian language. 

In a statement posted on his official Instagram page, Fognini wrote: “The heat went to my head. 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 apologise for the nonsense that came out me.”

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The world No 31 in the ATP rankings was dumped out of the competition as he was beaten in three sets by Medvedev 6-2 3-6 6-2 in the men’s singles.

This incident is by no means the first time Fognini has found himself in trouble for his antics.

In April this year, the 34-year-old was defaulted from the Barcelona Open because of verbal abuse towards a linesman.

He was forced to pay a fine at Wimbledon in 2019 after loudly claiming that he wished “a bomb would explode on this club”, and in 2017 he was ruled out of the doubles at the US Open after he abused Swedish official Louise Engzell during his first-round singles defeat.

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Meanwhile, Medvedev himself has been a polemic figure for some of his statements and interviews during these Olympic Games.

After requiring two medical time-outs during the win over Fognini with 79 percent humidity accompanied the searing heat at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The Russian claimed he could have died in the conditions, saying: “I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, who will take responsibility?”

Medvedev went on to become engaged in a squabble with a journalist who had suggested that the Russian Olympic Committee team “are carrying a stigma of cheaters.”

The 25-year-old responded furiously, demanding the reporter be withdrawn from the tournament:

“I think you should remove him- either from the Olympic Games or the tennis tournament.

“I don’t want to see him again in my interviews. Thanks.”

The second seed Medvedev went on to lose his quarterfinal against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

Heavy favourite Novak Djokovic comfortably dispatched of local hope Kei Nishikori to book his place in the semifinals on Friday, where he will face either the German Alexander Zverev or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

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