Fiery tennis star blames HEAT for screaming homophobic insults during Olympics loss – as opponent storms out of interview and journalist bumps into ’embarrassing’ question
- Italian tennis star accused intense heat in Tokyo of homophobic comments
- Fabio Fognini repeatedly shouted the slur to himself during the match on Wednesday
- His Russian opponent Dannil Medvedev scolded a reporter for asking questions
- Medvedev was angry when asked about the history of cheating in his country
An Italian tennis star has bizarrely blamed the intense heat for repeatedly yelling homophobic insults at himself during his Olympic loss — while his Russian opponent wants a reporter suspended for asking about his country’s cheating.
Fabio Fognini went down in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in a match in which he repeatedly referred to himself as a ‘frocio’, which translates to a homophobic slur in Italian.
“The heat rose to my head,” Fognini said in his Instagram story after the game.
“In today’s game I used a very stupid expression towards myself. Of course I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s sensitivities. I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.’
Medvedev also caused controversy by criticizing a journalist for asking whether Russian athletes “carry the stigma of cheating” during the Tokyo Games.
‘I think you should [remove] him from either the Olympics or the tennis tournament,” he said.
“I don’t want to see him in my interviews anymore. Thank you.’
Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini (pictured) has bizarrely blamed the intense heat for repeatedly yelling homophobic insults at himself during his Olympic loss
Fognini went on to face Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in straight sets in a match in which he repeatedly referred to himself as a ‘frocio’, which translates to a homophobic slur in Italian
“I can finish the game, but I could die. If I die, will you be responsible?’ Medvedev (in wheelchair) said to the umpire during the second set
Fognini’s outburst came after he missed a return against the Russian.
The Italian attributes his choice of words to the intense heat, which caused Medvedev to say ‘I can die’ to the umpire during the match.
“I can finish the game, but I could die. If I die, will you be responsible?’ said Medvedev to the umpire during the second set.
He said after the game that he “couldn’t breathe properly” on the pitch.
“Even from the first set I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing. I felt like my diaphragm was blocked, I couldn’t breathe properly,” said the Russian.
Medvedev then got into a heated argument with a reporter who brought up Russia’s ban on Olympic events for a nationalized doping program that barred them from competing under the country’s name.
“The heat rose to my head,” Fognini said in his Instagram story after the game
The Italian attributes his choice of words to the intense heat, which also prompted his opponent (pictured on stretcher) to say ‘I can die’ to the referee during the match.
On the last question of his English press conference, the tennis star was furious at Russia’s continued involvement in the Olympics, to which Medvedev refused to answer.
“Do Russian Olympic team athletes have the stigma of cheating in these Games after the scandal, and what do you think?” the reporter asked.
“That’s the first time in my life I’m not going to answer a question, man. And you should be ashamed of yourself,” Medvedev said.
He then gestured to the press officer to remove the journalist while the reporter tried to clarify.
“That’s the first time in my life… So you should be ashamed of yourself.”