Tennis

Italian star threatens Madrid Open umpire

Fognini lost his temper
Fognini lost his temper.

There were some unsavoury scenes on the third day of Madrid Open action as Fabio Fognini lashed out at the umpire following his first-round loss.

The Italian lost his cool, not for the first time, after his defeat against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. 

"You come now, I want to see you. Don't be scared," the angry 26-year-old raged to the umpire on conclusion of the tie.

The trouble started after Mohamed Lahyani overturned a decision which went against the world no.15 in the third and final set. At the time, Fognini was furious and insisted that there would be "big trouble" if he went on to lose.

Dolgopolov ensured that there would indeed be a problem after his 7-5 4-6 6-3 win set up a second-round clash with Ernests Gulbis.

Clearly Fognini had not forgotten the call which went against him and he made his feelings crystal clear to Lahyani.

Unfortunately this is just the next episode in the long-running drama surrounding Fognini. One of the most fiery characters on the ATP tour, he is constantly getting into arguments with officials.

At Wimbledon last year, the umpire in charge of a match involving Fognini was forced to sit back and laugh at his protestations in which he threw himself to the floor and ranted in his native Italian language.

Recently at the Indian Wells Masters, a five-minute expletive-filled row over hawkeye decision marred his first round win.

A quick search of YouTube will find you many more instances of Fognini losing his temper.

On the court, the former world no.13 is a man of great talent. This defeat will have irked him more than most as clay is his favoured surface.

Last month he dispatched British no.1 Andy Murray in a crucial Davis Cup quarter-final singles rubber with ease, as his country went through to the semi-finals. 

However, despite his talents, he has never passed the quarter-final of the Grand Slam. In 2011 he was only three wins from French Open glory but injury ended his chances as Novak Djokovic received a walkover.

The Championships on grass, at Wimbledon, and hard courts, in Australia and Flushing Meadows, have proved to be less successful for Fognini, he has never passed the fourth-round at any of them.

The ill-fated defeat against Dolgopolov extended his losing run in the pair's head-to-head battle, the Ukrainian has won all five of their encounters. 

Top seeds at Madrid such as three-time winner Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray start their campaign's on day four. One star who won't be in action is Roger Federer, tennis' most successful star returned him to be at his pregnant wife's side.

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