Fabio Fognini apologizes. Can he be forgiven?

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Fabio Fognini is not having his best days at the moment. His verbal abuse of a female umpire in the US Open first round cost him plenty.

Back at home, where he is having time to meditate on what happened, he concducted an exclusive interview with Sky Sport, the Italian-leading sports media outlet. In this interview, the world #26 seemed very unhappy and sad about the situation he created, and was about to cry for almost the whole talk. After a first brief Instagram post on his story where he gave some signs of apology, this time the situation was more serious so that he could focus more and give the right comments.

(You can see the Italian article with the video of the interview, which was in Italian, here; however, the video is not available in all countries, including the United States.)

“I know I’m unsustainable, I’m here to apologize to everyone, not only to the chair umpire to whom I already apologised in Ney York, but to everyone who felt offended, especially women.” Fabio started off. “I have nothing against women. I’ve been described as a sexist but it’s not true. I have a family now, I’m married, I have a mum and a sister and I’ve always respected them.”

The Italian also showed compassion to his young fans and said that he’s willing to go into schools to talk about sexism and tell his personal experience. “I know I’ve done a stupid thing, as I said I’m here to apologize and I’m very sorry to my many young fans who can call me an idol. I can also tell them my thoughts in tennis schools or normal schools.”

“Errare humanum est” Latins said, “Perseverare autem diabolicum.” It’s human to make mistakes but to keep doing them isn’t. Fognini isn’t new to these kind of behaviors on court, but in the interview he seemed mature and confessed: “I have a limit. I recognize it. I’ve been working with a mental coach to try to avoid this things, and in the last while it was going well. This idiocy is inexplicable and I take responsibility for that, it won’t happen again.”

Fognini also admitted he talked with his wife Flavia Pennetta about it: “Of course she’s sorry, not for what happened on court but because she knows I’m not like this in everyday life. She knows the sacrifices I do because she did them too, and she had a beautiful career, more successful than mine.”

In the end, the interviewer asked the 30-year-old if he felt emotional about the situation and the player’s answer was something unexpected: “When I was alone I admit that I cried. The things that hurt me the most are the articles I keep reading, I know I’m better than this.”

After the initial fine that Fognini received, the Grand Slam board is thinking about a further provision, who would ban him from future Grand Slams and raise his fine to $250,000 if his conduct would be considered as a “Major Offense.” But the Italian is ready to face this risk: “I know that the troubles aren’t over but I accept it. We pay for our mistakes.”

Is this enough to be forgiven?

Considering all the times that Fognini had the “last opportunity,” the answer could be negative, but I want everyone to think about it. People make mistakes and Fognini is human and does that too. This time he did a very bad thing and he will pay for this, but the reaction he had is what surprises me the most. This is a new Fognini who is trying to control himself; the old player we remember would have never done such an interview of apology. He knows he’s wrong and if he could come back he would never do it again.

He can recognize his errors. He even cried, and of course this would be the real “last” opportunity for him, but I’m sure that he will work hard to not repeat it, even if it will be very difficult.

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