Alexander Zverev put himself in rare company on Wednesday (February 23) when he got expelled from the Mexican Open in Acapulco.
Zverev lost his cool after he and doubles partner Marcelo Melo of Brazil fell 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 to Briton Lloyd Glasspool and Finn Harri Heliovaara.
He first smashed his racquet into the ground thrice. After that he began to berate the chair umpire and even smashed his racquet on the chair.
The reason for his dismay was a line call made during the match. But his actions saw the Olympic champion fall foul of the ATP rule book.
“Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco,” an ATP statement read.
But that does not seem to be the end of it. There is every chance he could be given a further penalty as well.
“If the Senior Vice President Rules & Competition determines that the default was particularly injurious to the success of the tournament or detrimental to the integrity of the sport, he may consider additional penalties,” reads the ATP rule book.
Afterwards, Zverev took to Instagram and said he was sorry for the way he behaved. He also said he had apologised to the chair umpire in person.
“It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behavior during and after the doubles match yesterday,” he wrote.
“I have privately apologised to the chair umpire because my outburst towards him was wrong and unacceptable.”
He further added he would reflect on his behaviour and ensure it didn’t happen again. “As you know I leave everything out on the court.
“Yesterday I left too much. I am going to take the coming days to reflect on my actions and how I can ensure that it will not happen again.”
Still, the way he behaved on court ensured Zverev again became a talking point in the tennis world. And again, not for the right reasons.
Andy Murray, who himself received a code violation for racquet abuse during his Dubai Open loss to Jannik Sinner, was quizzed on Zverev afterwards. Let’s just say he did not mince his words.
“It was not good. It was dangerous, reckless. I obviously understand lots of players, athletes across lots of sports, can get very frustrated.
“Certainly me, myself, I’ve not always acted in the way I would want on the tennis court. I’m certainly not claiming to be an angel.
“However, when you’re ripping your tennis racquet right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can’t be doing that.”
Zverev is no stranger to controversy both on and off the court. He is still under investigation from the ATP for alleged abusive behaviour towards his ex-girlfriend. He denies all charges made against him.