As the Australian Open 2021 advances and the draws get tighter, the heat and energy of the matches has become palpable, even through a TV screen. With so much at stake it is understandable that some players struggle to contain their emotions on court, however, rarely do you witness something of the sort that took place at the Fabio Fognini vs Caruso Round 2 match on Thursday. It has long been said that tennis is a gentleman's game. Over the years, the sport has been slow to accept anyone who is overly aggressive and — unlike the most popular feisty tennis player, John McEnroe — doesn't have the goods to show for such behaviour.
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Among the newest crop of up and coming players though, we find increasing examples of the emotional tennis player. One such player is Italy's Fabio Fognini. The 33-year-old has found himself in hot water at a couple of Slams now, most notably at the 2017 US Open where he was disqualified for abusing a woman umpire. Playing the much-awaited all-Italian matchup against Salvatore Caruso, Fognini kept his composure — for the most part — as he battled through a tough five-set thriller to win the match 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(12) and move on to Round 3.
However, the trouble began once the actually challenging part — the match — was over. The general consensus is that things began when Caruso, perhaps a bit sore from the loss, expressed his disappointment with Fognini's behaviour during the game. Caruso's principal complaint was that the World No.16 had no right to call him "bloody lucky" as he had done apparently multiple times during the game. This is how a portion of the conversation went:
Fognini: You HAVE been .... lucky, you should apologise. I didn't disrespect you until now
Caruso: What are you talking about?!
Fognini: You won four identical lucky points. Can't I say you have been ..... lucky?
Caruso: I didn't dare to say a single word in the whole match
Fognini: I said something because you called for it. If I'm wrong saying it. I'm wrong, don't attack me
Caruso: I didn't attack you. I'm telling you it's not the way to behave cause I didn't tell you a single word. Let's say, I didn't expect it from you
After letting the two countrymen go at it for a bit, the argument was promptly stopped by the match officials who sent the two on their way. No official action has been taken by either player or on either player at the time of writing. Fognini will play Australia's Alex de Minaur in Round 3.
According to cecelebrityhow.com, Fognini's net worth is estimated to be around $7 million. The Italian has earned $15,255,245 worth of career prize-money so far. He has endorsement deals with Asics, Armani, and Babolat.