Fabio Fognini is always an entertaining player, with a nice array of skills and style, and an opera’s worth of melodramatic emotions. He’s up, he’s down, he’s happy, he’s sad, he’s lying flat on his back on the court, he’s shouting at the sky. Whatever roller coaster of feelings he’s experiencing, he takes the opponent, umpire, linespeople, ballkids, and spectators along for the ride. So if you decide to tune in for, or better yet, show up for a Fognini match, fasten your seatbelt. No, really. One of those harness types they use in race cars would be best.
Fabio is one of those guys that is known for being something of an underachiever, a guy with mad skills who never capitalized on them, who never took the game seriously enough. Recently he appears to have been finding his focus a bit more, and what’s interesting about watching him play is the two distinct modes he switches in and out of.
During a point, Fabio is all business. He hits a lot of incredible shots, takes risks, and runs balls down. He twists and turns his body in all sorts of contortions to make the angles, and despite some unconventional moves, he has overall a very passionate elegance to his game.
However earnest, fierce, and energetic he might be during a point, as soon as the point is over he downshifts immediately. His limbs relax into a sultry, laid-back, slow-as-molasses stroll that gets him to the other side of the court at a speed best measured by calender rather than clock.
He’s sort of the “id” of Federer, with a wilder version of the Maestro’s precise elegance and a more Bacchanalian version of Rog’s languorous between-points swagger.
Then there is “teh dramaz.” It is not unusual for Fabio to have a word or two with the officials about line calls. At Cincy, particularly during qualification rounds, line-calling can be dismal. Often there is only one person behind the baseline on either side, so they must peer through the net to call the second half of each sideline. The outer courts and qualies are also where less-experienced, and less-focused linespeople
go to take a nap are placed.
So it was not without reason that the expressive Italian complained about calls during the match, holding things up until he’d had the time to fully express all of his wounded honor.
First, there was the appeal to the umpire for an overrule…
When words won’t suffice, Fabio helpfully points out the mark on the court where the clearly out ball landed…
But…no joy. The call stands.
This isn’t the last of the complaint though. On the changeover, it is time for Fabio to express his disagreement with the call
and question the legitimacy of the umpire’s birth.
Fabio calms himself by talking to the court for awhile.
Then his racquet. Later he wanders into the corner, staring at the wall for a full minute in what must be a self-imposed Time Out.
On the match went, but until the very last point, Fabio still felt the same way about the line-calling:
PHOTOS: c2012 Valerie David at TennisInsideOut.com. Fabio Fognini during qualifying match against Vasek Pospisil, Cincinnati Open.