The reason I enjoy watching Fabio Fognini is that he’s a sleepy pirate who produces ridiculous shots with no apparent effort or preparation. The reason I’m not more enthusiastic in my enjoyment is that he’s a chauvinistic turd who called a female ump a “cocksucking whore” in his native tongue, getting himself booted from this year’s U.S. Open. In 2014 he earned himself the largest fine in Wimbledon history, $27,500, for more outbursts and umpire abuse; that year, he also smeared a Serbian opponent as a “gypsy shit.” Fabio. Please, Fabio.
Today, as he got wrecked 6-4, 6-2 by wonder boy Alexander Zverev in the second round of the China Open, Fognini made yet another brief, irresistible case for himself as tennis player, if not as human being:
Right from the get-go Fognini is on the offensive, with a deep return of serve that immediately forces Zverev onto his back foot. Then came my favorite stroke of the rally: a forehand with the teeniest of backswings that goes faster than it has any right to and plants itself deep in the backhand corner—a perfect invitation to the net. Fognini is nothing if not a befuddling shotmaker and that there is a shot.
The ensuing net foray doesn’t go quite as planned—volleys weren’t tight enough—but Fognini bails himself out with a finely tuned lob, blocked right onto the baseline, which the very tall but mobile Zverev is admirably quick to and tweeners back. From there on out Fabio is perfect: deep volley, drop volley, winner into open court. He might be a piece of shit, but he sure has great hands, hands far wiser than his head. Maybe the next time you feel an outburst bubbling, Fabio, you should channel it towards more creative, less despicable ends.