Fabio Fognini's Bad Boy Act Needs To Be Backed Up With Victories


Fabio Fognini flips the finger. When the Italian player treated the Shanghai Masters fans to a one-finger salute this week, after losing first round to local boy Wang Chuhan, it was just the latest in a whole string of naughty antics. 

He has earned himself a US$2,000 for this latest stunt. But that will hardly come as a surprise. This irascible player gets docked more cash than a racing driver in a 30mph zone.

At Wimbledon this summer he was fined a total of $27,500 – both for unsportsmanlike behaviour and visible obscenities. At one point he even told Wimbledon official Wayne McEwen that he would “smash my racket in your head” – which would have earned him a rapid transfer from court of play to court of law.

At last year’s Wimbledon he was fined $10,000 for damaging the court surface. At this year’s French Open he was docked $3,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct and racket abuse.

And it’s not like he’s ever contrite. “I always be the same,” he said at Wimbledon when asked if he was at all repentant.

Isn't it about time the ATP punished him properly? Fines are obviously no deterrent – not for a professional player who has earned more than $5 million so far in his career.

If the professional tennis tours really want to crack down on bad behaviour, they should take a leaf out of FIFA's book by allocating match bans as well as fines. Perhaps, then, the likes of Fognini might finally curb his jiggery-pokery.

Let's play devil's advocate, however. Would match bans end up snuffing out some of the most entertaining personalities on the tour? 

God knows we all love to see a bit of racket abuse. There's nothing better than an audible obscenity, especially on live TV. Who doesn't immediately press replay when one naughty player yells insults at another, or at the crowd, or, best of all, at the umpire?

Let's face it. Fognini and his ilk may be spoilt brats with no manners, but they are extremely entertaining spoilt brats with no manners. Just ask John McEnroe.

The problem with Fognini is that he's not that good. Not yet, anyway.

McEnroe got away with his appalling behaviour because he won Grand Slams at the same time. The best title Fognini has is an ATP 500 last year in Hamburg. And right now he’s in a slump, his last win back in August at the US Open.

This Italian firebrand must realise that his bad-boy shenanigans will only win him fans if he couples them with match victories. 

Right now, can he really afford to be so cocky? There's no doubt he's one of the best-looking players on the ATP tour, with a plethora of female admirers. But good looks don’t win matches. 

Here's a free piece of advice, Fabio: act like a gentleman, cut back on the monkey business, and get some victories under your belt.

 

So what kind of odds does Unibet give Fognini for the next Grand Slam on the tennis calendar – the 2015 Australian Open? 401.0, to be precise.

Favourite is Novak Djokovic at 2.40, followed by Rafa Nadal at 4.50, Andy Murray at 6.50 and Roger Federer at 8.00.