The volatile and unpredictable nature of Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini has been exposed yet again, this time at the Shanghai Masters.
The 27-year-old faced ATP Tour debutant Wang Chuhan in the first round of the tournament but was shocked in straight-sets 7-6 6-4 by the Chinese wildcard, and it drew an aggressive response.
Clearly frustrated at losing to the world no.553, Fognini lashed out at his 22-year-old opponent by shoving him following the defeat. Needless to say that the crowd reacted angrily to the behaviour displayed against their local player.
Apparently an experienced player, Fognini - ranked 17th in the world - then embarrassed himself further as he issued an obscene gesture to the stands by sticking his middle finger up.
Chuhan will now progress in Shanghai to face qualifier Malek Jaziri in the second round while tennis fans will be left to read about yet another moment of madness from Fognini on-court.
This isn't the first time, after all, that the former world no.13 has let himself down. For a player of immense talent, he continues to let poor behaviour cloud any potential progression as a player.
Earlier this year Fognini was in trouble for threatening an umpire at the Madrid Open, in similar circumstances, following his loss by Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.
A quick search of YouTube will find you multiple examples of Fognini losing his temper on-court with officials, opponents, fans - basically anybody who will listen. In contrast, if you type the names of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafel Nadal and the videos will be of great shots in major Grand Slam matches.
One famous example came at Wimbledon in 2013, in which the fiery player had a tantrum in protest at a call from the umpire he didn't agree with. The umpire in question could only laugh as Fognini laid on the grass shouting.
Put some of his aggression into his game, rather than attitude, and Fognini has the potential to be a great player.
He's flirted with the top 10 of the world rankings and has threatened to reach the latter stages of the Grand Slams. A clay court specialist, Fognini reached the French Open quarter-finals in 2011 - his best finish at a major. He also got to round four at this year's Australian Open.
Inconsistency from the current world no.17 means he has no chance of reaching the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month, and perhaps that is a blessing for players and the crowd alike.
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