We’ve seen several on-court disagreements between players and umpires in tennis, but Fabio Fognini seemed determined to take things to a whole new level yesterday. It was the meltdown to beat all meltdowns. The Italian brought his infamous temper into sharp focus as he launched into an elongated, abusive tirade against chair umpire Mohamed El Jennati after the latter refused to give him a point in his second round match against Ryan Harrison at the Indian Wells Masters yesterday.
The incident happened when, serving at 7-5, 0-1, 15-30, Harrison hit a drop half volley that sat up, allowing Fognini to sprint towards the net and slice a passing shot that seemed to have grazed the baseline. Harrison had no chance of getting that shot back, but the linesman called it out, giving Harrison the point and making the score 30-30 instead of 15-40.
Fognini immediately challenged, and as everyone suspected, the ball turned out to be well inside the line as per the Hawk-eye replay. Fognini then demanded that the point be given to him, considering that Harrison couldn’t possibly have got back into the point, but El Jennati ruled that the point would have to be replayed.
That set Fognini off, to be put it mildly. He advanced towards El Jennati, showering him with expletives and dropping several F-bombs, and refused to resume play; he kept demanding loudly for El Jennati’s supervisor to come to the court. He even had a minor altercation with Harrison, who only seemed keen to get on with the match! Fognini paced all over the court as he struggled to contain his anger, and he refused to calm down even after the supervisor came on, all the while abusing El Jennati over and over again.
It was an unsavoury sight, and the crowd rightly booed Fognini for his antics, even if he had a legitimate complaint. The Italian had the last laugh though, as he went on to win the match by taking the second and third sets.
Watch Fognini’s epic meltdown below: