Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini has released an apology for saying an anti-LGBTQ+ slur at the Tokyo Olympics.
During the third round against Russian player Daniil Medvedev, Fognini was heard using an offensive Italian slur.
He also slammed his racket on the court during multiple points of the match.
Shortly after the tournament, Fognini took to his Instagram stories and apologised for using the homophobic slur.
“In today’s match I used a really stupid expression towards myself,” he said. “Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities. I love the LGBT community and I apologized for the nonsense that came out of me.”
He went on to say that the 37°C heat “affected his head” which resulted in him using the offensive word.
During the match, his competitor Medvedev also complained about the weather and required medical attention after he almost fainted from the exhaustion.
“I can finish the match but I can die,” Medvedev said. “If I die, are you going to be responsible?”
“The heat went to my head! In today’s match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities. I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 28, 2021
This isn’t the first time that the tennis player has been called out for inappropriate language.
Back in 2017, Fognini was kicked out of the U.S. Open after he hurled insults to the chair umpire.
His temper has also resulted in him being suspended from two previous Grand Slam events.
Aside from Fognini’s behaviour, the Tokyo Olympics has been a game-changer for queer representation.
More than 160 LGBTQ+ athletes are competing at this year’s games, which is the most in Olympic history.
Alongside the growing representation, the medal tally for Team LGBTQ+ has steadily grown over the years. According to Outsports, if the team were a country they would currently rank at 11th place.
Check out the full list of the Tokyo Olympics openly queer athletes here.