Has Fabio Fognini finally gone too far?
The Italian could be facing disciplinary action from the ATP Tour after his antics during a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday. Fognini's frustration boiled over after he blew a 4-2 lead in the first set, and he began to take it out on the balls, his racket, the fans and the chair umpire, Mohamed Lahyani.
First, Fognini received a code violation for ball abuse after he fired the ball out of the stadium when he was broken to 4-4 in the first set. Fognini argued that he should have only received a warning because it was the first offense, but Lahyani said he received a code because he hit it out of the stadium. Fognini admonished the umpire, saying, "You have to think [with] your mind sometimes. I know that's difficult for you."
After Fognini lost the first set and subsequently smashed his racket, he called the trainer for a hip injury. However, the ATP trainer refused to treat him because it was a pre-existing injury, which left Fognini confused.
#Fognini arguing with physio as he can't get an MTO for a pre-existing injury. #MutuaMadridOpen #tennis pic.twitter.com/4PbJnQ4sTQ — TennisTV (@TennisTV) May 6, 2014
Fognini then turned his ire toward some fans, asking Lahyani to summon security. He pulled himself together to win the second set, but his comeback unraveled quickly. After an errant forehand gave Dolgopolov a break point early in the third set, Fognini demanded that the umpire check the mark. Lahyani came down from the chair and ruled the ball was out, causing Fognini to launch into his best Viktor Troicki impression.
"Are you serious?" Fognini said. "Check this! There is no space!"
He took Lahyani by the arm and pulled him to his vantage point and continued his rant.
"There is no space!" Fognini said. "You kidding me! How you can see this ball? Believe me, if I lose this game? Big problem."
"Don't talk like this," Lahyani said. "You have to trust me on this."
Fognini went on to lose the game and eventually the match. He had words with Layhani during the handshake and then summoned him again as he walked off the court.
"Come now," Fognini said, pointing off the court. "I want to see you now. Come now and don't be scared."
Watch both exchanges below:
This is just the latest outburst from Fognini, who clashed with an umpire at the BNP Paribas Open in March, was booed for his behavior at the Western & Southern Open last August and abruptly retired two points from losing at the St. Petersburg Open last September after arguing with the umpire. Fognini could be subject to a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct against an official. The ATP did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The post will be updated if the tour responds.