Fognini apologises for homophobic slur

Italy's Fabio Fognini had a number of outbursts during his round three loss in Tokyo.
Italy's Fabio Fognini had a number of outbursts during his round three loss in Tokyo.

Italian Fabio Fognini has apologised for yelling at himself with a homophobic slur during a loss at the Tokyo Olympic tennis tournament.

Fognini used the offensive Italian word repeatedly during the three-set loss to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the third round on Wednesday.

Fognini wrote in an Instagram story early Thursday that the extremely hot conditions "affected his head" and that he "used a really stupid expression toward myself."

"Obviously I didn't want to offend anyone's feelings," Fognini added.

"I love the LGBT community and I apologise for the nonsense that I let out."

The Instagram story was written on a rainbow background.

Medvedev nearly fainted during the match, which he won 6-2 3-6 6-2 in two hours 25 minutes, and Fognini also struggled with the heat.

Fognini repeatedly slammed his racket during the loss, including after the final point, upon which he picked the racket up and deposited it in a court-side trash can.

The volatile Fognini was kicked out of the doubles tournament at the US Open in 2017 for vulgarly insulting the chair umpire during his first-round singles loss. He was then handed a suspended ban of two grand slam tournaments.

Australian Associated Press