ROME (AP) — Fabio Fognini has apologized for insulting a chair umpire at the U.S. Open and said he is prepared to discuss his mistake with schoolchildren as a lesson.
Fognini was kicked out of the New York tournament on Saturday and could be banned from all Grand Slam events.
“I apologize to everyone, not only the chair umpire, to whom I already apologized in New York, but to everyone who felt offended – women above all,” Fognini told Italy’s Sky TV in a report that was broadcast Tuesday.
“Being described as sexist hurt me, because it’s not true,” said Fognini, who is married to 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta.
The couple’s son, Federico, was born in May.
Fognini was fined $24,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct during his singles loss to Stefano Travaglia.
“I understand the gravity of my gesture and I know I did something seriously wrong,” Fognini said. “I’m prepared to enter a tennis school, or any school, and speak to the kids and say what I think – which is that I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.”
Fognini, known as a volatile player, was fined $27,500 by Wimbledon in 2014 for his outbursts during a first-round victory. He has been working on calming his nerves with a mental coach.
“It’s my limit, I realize it and I’m working on it with a mental trainer,” Fognini said. “We were doing pretty well lately and then comes this outburst, which can’t be explained.”
Fognini’s suspension meant he was withdrawn from the doubles tournament, where he and Simone Bolelli had advanced to the third round.
If the Grand Slam Board determines Fognini committed a “major offense,” the Italian also could be fined up to $250,000 for violating the code of conduct.