Bopanna slams US Open’s handling of Fognini suspension

India’s Rohan Bopanna has criticised the US Open’s handling of the suspension of Fabio Fognini, who was, on Saturday, defaulted for abusing a chair umpire during his first round single match. Fognini, who lost that match, was withdrawn from the rest of the tournament, fined $24,000 and awaits further decision.

Fognini, who lost that match, was withdrawn from the rest of the tournament, fined $24,000 and awaits further decision.   -  AFP

India’s Rohan Bopanna has criticised the US Open’s handling of the suspension of Fabio Fognini, who was, on Saturday, defaulted for abusing a chair umpire during his first round single match. Fognini, who lost that match, was withdrawn from the rest of the tournament, fined $24,000 and awaits further decision.

Speaking to Sportstar after his round two mixed doubles win, Bopanna said, “The incident happened on Wednesday in a singles match. It was three days later when they came out with the announcement. If the tournament had already started to let him play doubles, they should have let him play the whole tournament and then made a decision.”

Bopanna and his partner Pablo Cuevas lost to Fognini and Simona Bolelli in the second round of the men’s doubles event on Friday. Following Fognini’s suspension, John-Patrick Smith and Nicholas Monroe have been given a direct entry to the quarter-finals and Fognini’s doubles partner Bolelli has been forced out of the tournament. While Bopanna feels his loss to the Italian duo in round two was fair-and-square, he is still critical of what it has done to the draw. “I think as a Grand Slam committee they need to make the decision much sooner. Right now, it has affected five players in the tournament - the ones who lost in the first two rounds and Bolelli.”

Bopanna’s sentiment echoes that of World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who has also questioned the timing of the ban. Nadal had said, “Three days for that? I don't think so,” when the Board said they had to wait for a translation of Fognini’s comments before making a decision.

“It doesn’t take 72 hours to do what they do. If they are investigating the situation, they should have not allowed him to play the match,” Bopanna said.

He went on to say his views were widely shared by other players. “Every player in the locker room knows it was wrongly done. Every player knows it was not the right thing to do. Whoever I speak to knows it was not done the right way. It clearly shows it was a big mistake made by the tournament.”

Fognini could face further action if it is concluded that he committed a ‘major offence’ at the tournament. Penalties include a fine of up to $250,000 and a potential ban from future Grand Slam tournaments.