Ranked at number 3 in the latest ATP Tour standings, German tennis star Alexander Zverev has been thrown out of the Mexican Open in Acapulco. The decision was taken by event organizers following an angry outburst by the player, who used foul and unsavoury language during a doubles match, then assaulted the umpire’s chair after being defeated.
Having lost the doubles match, Zverev demonstrated his anger and frustration by smashing his racquet against the umpires chair, narrowly missing the feet of the startled umpire. Amidst further verbal obscenities directed at the umpire, Zverev sat down briefly before launching another assault on the umpire’s chair, while his doubles partner Marcelo Melo remained silent.
Just a couple of hours later, the ATP issued an official announcement. “Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco,” read the statement by tournament organizers, quoted by The Guardian. Effectively, the doubles outburst had cost Zverev his participation in the singles tournament.
Within 24 hours of the incident in Acapulco and having had time to reflect, Zverev issued an apologetic statement. “It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday,” lamented the 24-year-old. “I have privately apologized to the chair umpire because my outburst towards him was wrong and unacceptable, and I am only disappointed in myself,” he added.
“It just should not have happened and there’s no excuse,” insisted Zverev in the public statement of apology, who had reached the second round of the Mexican Open singles tournament, before being ejected by organizers for his behaviour. Zverev will also be counting the additional costs of his remarkable outburst, as according to the ATP rulebook, he will forfeit all prize money and accommodation expenses.
Alexander Zverev has been THROWN OUT of the Mexican Open for attacking the umpire’s chair at the end of his doubles match ??? pic.twitter.com/CWhQ1r6kwj
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) February 23, 2022
“I would also like apologise to my fans, the tournament, and the sport I love. I am going to take the coming days to reflect on my actions and how I can ensure it will not happen again. I am sorry for letting you down,” concluded Zverev. The ATP has yet to decide whether further fines or sanctions will be imposed on the player, which could imply a possible ban from future tournaments.
Speaking later, while showing his understanding of how tennis players can sometimes feel pressured and frustrated, Rafael Nadal suggested “the punishment is deserved” for Zverev. “One cannot behave in this manner and I believe he is conscious of that,” assured the Spaniard in comments highlighted by BBC Sport. “We must set an example and show a minimum of respect,” underlined the 2022 Australian Open champion.
Calm after the storm
Having been the second seed in Acapulco, being ejected from the Mexican Open will have hurt much more than the wounded pride of Zverev, who was tipped as one of the strongest contenders. He also had what looked to be an easier pathway towards the final, avoiding both Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev in the other half of the draw. The toughest likely opponent would have been Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.
Looking ahead, Zverev will now be hoping he avoids any further punishment, which could even include a ban from future ATP tournaments. Nevertheless, any such ban would likely be imposed before the 2022 French Open, where the German is amongst the four favourites. Having reviewed the top online tennis bookmakers, Asiabet has produced a detailed guide covering all the best tennis betting sites, focusing on which offer the best value and range of markets for the sport.
In the meantime, Zverev will now be painfully aware that his temperament must be tempered by calmness towards tennis officials, albeit without compromising his habitually competitive attitude. As the top three tennis players of all time reach a more advanced age, he is one of the younger generation who could step into the void they leave behind. But the only way Zverev will do that is to improve his focus and of course, his behaviour at tournaments.