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Tennis

Rafael Nadal criticizes US Open for delaying Fabio Fognini ban for sexist abuse

Rafael Nadal has criticized organizers of the US Open for the delay in suspending Fabio Fognini for directing obscene sexist language towards a female umpire. It's not the first time Fognini has been in trouble.

Italian Fognini, seeded 22, was cited for three code violations during his 6-4 7-6 (8) 3-6 6-0 loss to fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia on Wednesday.

He is widely reported to have directed the Italian words, "troia" and "bocchinara" - which translate as "whore" and “c**ksucker" - at Swedish chair umpire Louise Engzell.

It wasn't until Saturday, by which time he'd played two matches in the doubles tournament with partner Simone Bolelli, that the Grand Slam Board announced their decision to suspend the hot-headed 30-year-old.

"Of course (it) is not a positive thing (what Fognini did)," world number one Nadal said after his third round win over Leonardo Mayer on Saturday.

2017 US Open - Rafael Nadal (picture-alliance/abaca/C. Dubreuil)

Rafael Nadal progressed to the 4th round but had some strong words for the organizers

"Of course if you are not doing the right things on the court, of course you need to be in some way affected. But at the same time it's true that things can be made (to) happen earlier because I believe that he played two matches after that match, two doubles matches.

"If they want to suspend him, (it would) be much better to do it immediately, not three days later or four days later."

Fognini has been fined $24,000 (€20,000) fo his actions. It is not the first time he has been financially penalized at a Grand Slam tournament. At Wimbledon in 2014, he was fined a similar amount for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Fognini later posted an apology on Twitter: "It was just a very bad day, but it did not forgive my behavior in the match," he wrote.

"Although I'm a hot-head (and though I've been right in most circumstances) I was wrong. But in the end it's only a tennis game."

 

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