(VIDEO) Fognini slams Davis Cup team by imitating Shelton-Djokovic phone gesture

Fabio Fognini has slammed the Italian Davis Cup team captain Filippo Volandri yet again by imitating the Ben Shelton-Novak Djokovic phone gesture.

Former World No. 9 Fognini has been vocal about his disappointment and frustration over being excluded from team Italy ahead of the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage. Instead, Volandri opted for World No. 18 Lorenzo Musetti, World No. 39 Lorenzo Sonego, World No. 61 Matteo Arnaldi, and World No. 41 and 43 Andrea Vassavori and Simone Bolelli.

Although Fognini is currently ranked at No. 128 in singles, the 36-year-old is No. 78 in doubles, with 1,105 ATP Ranking points.

Fognini previously called exclusion 'disrespectful'

When the team was announced last Thursday, September 7, Fognini expressed his outrage in a statement, calling the decision to exclude him from the team 'disrespectful.' Since then, Volandri has hit back at the player, saying that his compatriot's words were 'ungrateful.'

While this dispute was going on, Ben Shelton met Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-finals of the US Open. After the rising talent took a surprise victory against the tenth seed, Shelton celebrated his victory with the gesture of picking up a receiver phone before hanging up. Later, he explained that the move signified he was 'dialed in.'

However, the gesture picked up a shadier connotation after Novak Djokovic ousted Shelton in the semi-finals. When he scored the match point, the Serb imitated the action, leading to a bit of a backlash on social media.

Fognini throws shade at Italian team

Now, it seems as though Shelton and Djokovic have set a trend in the tennis world, as Fognini imitated the gesture while competing at the Genoa AON Open Challenger event. The Italian used the gesture to celebrate his straight-sets victory over Thiago Monteiro in the semi-finals.

In doing so, he threw shade at Volandri for not calling him up to the Davis Cup team. Other Italian players absent from the team include World No. 6 Jannik Sinner, who was visibly struggling with cramps during his five-set battle with Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the US Open five days ago.

Matteo Berrettini will also skip the Group Stage tournament, held in Bologna from September 12-17. This is due to an ankle injury that he sustained in the second-round at Flushing Meadows, which saw him leave the venue in a wheelchair.

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