Matteo Berrettini apologised for his social media post on LeBron James that had racist overtones.
On Saturday, James came up with a superb 42-point performance in the Drew League.
A baskteball and James fan, Berrettini marked the moment by putting a photo of the basketball superstar but embellished it with a gorilla and crown king emojis.
He posted this… pic.twitter.com/gTeIHUimWs
— Sassy Jax 🇺🇦💙💛🇺🇦 (@SassyJaxIsBack) July 17, 2022
The post caused controversy and fans accused Berrettini of being a racist.
Berrettini deleted the post after a few hours and issued an apology.
“I am very sorry if my previous story post offended anyone,” the Italian said.
“I was informed that it can easily be misinterpreted so I have deleted it.”
In an interview with La Stampa recently, Berrettini had hailed James’ physicality and compared him with 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.
“The LeBron James of tennis? Nadal, in terms of physicality and why they both exploded [onto the scene] very young,” Berrettini said.
“I would compare (Roger) Federer to Michael Jordan. (Novak) Djokovic reminds me of Kobe Bryant, for how he remains cold in difficult situations.”
Berrettini, who had withdrawn from Wimbledon, will be returning to the Tour at the Swiss Open in Gstaad.