US Open: Rafael Nadal criticises delay in banning Fabio Fognini for insulting umpire
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Rafael Nadal has criticised US Open organisers after they waited three days before suspending Italian Fabio Fognini for verbally abusing a female umpire.
Fognini, 30, used insulting language to Louise Engzell during his first-round defeat by compatriot Stefano Travaglia.
But the world number 26 played twice in the doubles before the Grand Slam board defaulted him on Saturday, saying they had to wait for a translation.
"Three days for that? I don't think so," world number one Nadal said.
"He has been out winning two matches since then. It is not the ideal situation. It would be much better to do it immediately, not three days later."
Fognini apologised for his behaviour in a post on Twitter, saying: "I would apologise to you fans, [and] to the referee for what happened.
"It was just a very bad day, but it did not forgive my behaviour in the match. Although I'm a hot-head (and though I've been right in most circumstances) I was wrong. But in the end, it's only a tennis game."
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A US Open tournament statement said he was provisionally suspended "pending a final determination whether a major offence has been committed".
It confirmed Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith, who lost to Fognini and compatriot Simone Bolelli in the third round of the doubles, would take their place in the quarter-finals.
Fognini had already been fined a total of $24,000 (£18,500), which will be deducted from his $50,000 prize money for losing in the first round of the singles.
If he is found to have committed a major offence, Fognini could be fined up to $250,000 (£190,000) and potentially suspended from future grand slams.
At Wimbledon in 2014, the Italian was given the biggest penalty in the tournament's history when he was fined $27,500 for throwing his racquet and arguing with an umpire and another official.