Words: Will Stroude
Tennis star Fabio Fognini donned rainbow-coloured sports gear for his first match since the Olympic Games, where the Italian was forced to apologise for shouting homophobic slurs on court.
The world number 36 took to the court for his first-round match at the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) 1000 event in Toronto on Monday (9 August) sporting a rainbow-striped headband and matching sweatbands on each wrist.
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) August 9, 2021
Fognini's pointed display during his three-set victory over Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff comes less than two weeks after the sportsman issued an apology after repeatedly using a homophobic slur during a third-round Olympic loss to Russia world number two Daniil Medvedev.
Sharing a rainbow-coloured text not to his Instagram Story following the match, Fognini apologised to the LGBTQ community and blamed the unpleasant outburst on the Tokyo weather, writing "The heat went to my head!"
The 34-year-old continued: "In today’s match, I used a really stupid expression towards myself. "Obviously I didn't want to offend anyone's feelings. I love the LGBT community and I apologise for the nonsense that I let out."
Fognini's rainbow display in Toronto might be a tad on the nose, but at least indicates the former French Open quarterfinalist is prepared to own it and not simply sweep the incident under the rug - and given the failed apologies we've seen from certain *other* stars in recent days, it's fair to say that's not always a given...