Alexander Zverev came perilously close to hitting umpire Alessandro Germani when he repeatedly assaulted the umpire's chair with his racquet after losing a doubles match.
Third-ranked Alexander Zverev has been thrown out of the Mexican Open for violently smashing his racket on the umpire’s chair moments after losing a doubles match.
The incident took place on Wednesday after Zverev and Marcelo Melo lost to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 on Tuesday night in Acapulco.
Zverev struck the umpire’s chair three times, sat for a moment, then got back up and yelled at the umpire that he “destroyed the whole (expletive) match” and struck the chair once more with his racket as the umpire climbed down. The umpire had pulled his feet back at one point for fear of being hit.
Minutes earlier, Zverev had received a code violation after yelling and swearing in protest of a shot that was ruled in, setting up match point. Glasspool then ended the match with an ace.
“Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco,” the ATP said on Twitter early Wednesday.
The 24-year-old German was the defending champion in the singles. The ATP website shows that his second-round opponent, Peter Gojowczyk, has been given a walkover.
As the crowd booed, Zverev handed his damaged racket to a child in the front row.
tw Zverev— sasak (@tennistaboo) February 23, 2022
Zverev HIT the chair and then looked straight in the Umpires eyes. He’s literally not afraid of the consequences at ALL this is so terrifying. He knows he can get away with virtually anything pic.twitter.com/F2bosG6OQU
'I regret my behaviour'
Zverev apologized in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Wednesday.
“It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday,” he wrote. “I have privately apologized to the chair umpire because my outburst towards him was wrong and unacceptable, and I am only disappointed in myself. It just should not have happened and there is no excuse.”
With a possible suspension looming, Zverev also apologized to fans, the tournament, and “the sport that I love.”
“As you know, I leave everything on the court,” he continued. “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. I am sorry for letting you down.”
Earlier, Daniil Medvedev continued his pursuit of the No. 1 ranking with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Benoit Paire to move into the second round.
The 26-year-old Russian can overtake Novak Djokovic for the top spot in the men's rankings if he wins the title here.
Medvedev, who won the 2021 US Open and was a runner-up to Rafael Nadal last month at the Australian Open, is playing in Mexico for the first time.
He next plays Pablo Andujar, who beat Alex Hernandez 6-0, 6-1.