Brazil’s Guilherme Clezar says there was no racist intent behind an offensive gesture he made during a Davis Cup match against Japan in Osaka.
After successfully challenging a line call during his match against Yuichi Sugita, Clezar stretched his eyes in the direction of a line judge.
The 24-year-old said later he “never had the slightest intention to be aggressive, racist, prejudiced”.
Clezar lost 6-2 7-5 7-6 (7-5) and China lead the World Group play-off 2-0.
In a post on the Brazilian Tennis Confederation Facebook page, Clezar said: “We have been extremely well received here and I have an excellent relationship with all tennis players from many different countries on the circuit.
“Even though I didn’t mean any prejudice, I recognise the gesture doesn’t ring true with the attitudes of respect, enthusiasm, solidarity, emotion and many other things that sport means to us and I want to express my regret and my most sincere apologies.”
Earlier this summer, Premier League football club Chelsea apologised to “our Chinese fans as well as Chinese people” after Brazilian player Kenedy posted offensive social media comments before a pre-season match in the country.