Both Fabio Fognini and Salvatore Caruso played down the theatrics which turned the end of their five-set battle into something out of an Italian opera.

The pair of off-court mates got stuck into a verbal fracas on court, with the chair umpire having to come between the heated-up Latins after 16th seed Fognini won their second-round match 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(12).

While the emotional toll appeared possibly heavy, both all but laughed off the incident.

“We had some different opinions, but this is something that should stay in the locker room,” Caruso, a hot-blooded Sicilian, said.

Northerner Fognini, who grew up near the French Mediterranean border, was equally reluctant to do much explaining.

“Italian or English, it’s not important to me. We are good friends. The thing that  happened on court – I have nothing to say about that question anymore.”

Caruso hinted that the slanging match in Italian will be quickly forgotten.

“I will speak with him because we are friends. We just have different opinions and we will talk about it in the next few days. 

“But I will not say more.”

Main photo:- Salvatore CARUSO (ITA) exchanges words with Fabio FOGNINI (ITA) after Fognini won tense five setter Tennis Australia / SCOTT BARBOUR


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