I’m just a hothead & it’s just tennis


Photo: Tatiana from Moscow, Russia. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kulitat/15803357184/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Sessista? Me?

Fabio Fognini was having a bad moment at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. Actually, 3 bad moments. In the singles, Stefano Travaglia, was beating him. In the process of losing he had 3 temper tantrums.

These were directed at umpire Louise Engzell. Fognini, who is Italian, disputed her decisions by calling Engzell, who is Swedish, “troia” and “bocchinara.”

Engzell knows more Italian than we do. Perhaps from umpiring? Perhaps from umpiring Fognini, who’s well-known for yelling, flinging his racket, etc.? She reported him to the International Tennis Federation, because those words translate to “whore” and “cocksucker.”

Two days later the Federation assessed fines of $4,000, $15,000, and $5,000. One for each hissy fit, SorryWatch guesses. Fognini’s reported response was “Today, they’re all moralists.”

As for the U.S. Open officials, they pondered the matter. Meanwhile Fognini and partner Simone Bolelli played a couple of doubles matches, and won.

After 3 days the officials, who said they had been getting things translated, “provisionally” suspended Fognini, which mean the teams he and Bolelli had beaten in doubles were provisionally reinstated…. Provisional until they decide if Fognini committed a “major offense.” (Hard on Bolelli.)

Rafael Nadal said it was ridiculous that it took 3 days to get a translation. Maybe they don’t know any Italians. And are too proud to ask the International Tennis Federation. And don’t have internet.

Photo: si.robi. https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirobi/19120252058/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

WHAT?! Who’s the tennis player here? Who’s usually right?

In the meantime Fognini had [apologized]. The night after the tempestuous singles match he tweeted:

Vorrei inanzitutto chiedere scusa a voi tifosi, all’arbitro per quanto accaduto oggi. E’ semplicemente stata una giornata molto negativa, ma ciò non perdona il comportamento avuto nel match!!! Nonostante io sia una testa calda (e se pur secondo me avendo avuto ragione nel più delle circostanze…) HO SBAGLIATO. Che poi alla fin dei conti e’ sola una partita di tennis. Fogna


I would first apologize to you fans, [and] the referee about what happened today. It’s just been a very bad day, but this does not forgive the behavior in the match!!! Although I’m a hothead (and though in my opinion having been right in most circumstances …) I MADE A MISTAKE. Then at the end of the day it’s only a game of tennis.

Even given leeway for translation issues (and we ran this through several translation programs to be fair), this is a bad apology. If the “bad day” doesn’t excuse his behavior, then it doesn’t belong in the apology. It should be “my behavior,” not “the behavior.” The claim that he’s usually right when he ‘hotheadedly’ disputes calls also does not belong in an apology. (Also we are skeptical about that claim.)

Photo: Steven Pisano from Brooklyn, NY, USA. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenpisano/9667955448/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

I would be willing to tell kids not to swear.

Does “it’s only a game of tennis” mean he should be forgiven for cursing out umpires? No. I doubt he was thinking “only a game” 2 days later when he was fined, or 3 days later when he was suspended.

Later he uttered another apology on Italian Sky TV:

I apologize to everyone, not only the chair umpire, to whom I already apologized in New York, but to everyone who felt offended – women above all.

Being described as sexist hurt me, because it’s not true.

I understand the gravity of my gesture and I know I did something seriously wrong. I’m prepared to enter a tennis school, or any school, and speak to the kids and say what I think – which is that I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.

It’s my limit, I realize it and I’m working on it with a mental trainer. We were doing pretty well lately and then comes this outburst, which can’t be explained.

Photo: Kelly Sikkema. Unsplash. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

You may NOT call your opponent a stupid diaper baby.

Still terrible. ‘I ALREADY APOLOGIZED. It hurts that people think I’m sexist, just because I curse women with sexist insults. I’m not afraid to go to schools and tell children I’m not sexist!

But SorryWatch thinks well of the last paragraph, where he describes working on his temper with a trainer. That sounds more like taking it seriously.

Thanks to Sean P. for pointing this one out.


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One Response to I’m just a hothead & it’s just tennis

  1. Tennis Guide says:

    Haha what a joke that apology is. Or both of them, really. Thanks for translating from Italian

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