Mats Wilander has again called for Alexander Zverev to be suspended from the tour
Mats Wilander has reiterated his view that Alexander Zverev should be “taken off the tour” for his outburst at the Mexican Open in February. The seven-time Grand Slam champion has condemned players breaking rackets on court as “horrible” and “completely wrong.”
In an interview last month, Wilander called for Zverev to receive a “three-month or six-month” suspension for his behavior in Mexico. The Olympic gold medallist was disqualified from the ATP 500 event in Acapulco for his conduct during his first-round doubles loss alongside Marcelo Melo.
The World No. 3 repeatedly hit umpire Alessandro Germani’s chair with his racket and verbally abused the official after disagreeing with a line call in the match tie-break. The 24-year-old had to forfeit his prize money ($31,000) and ranking points for both the singles and doubles events. He was also given a $40,000 fine.
Following a review of the incident, the ATP announced last month that Zverev would serve a one-year probation period, but would not be banned from any tournaments. If he receives any code violations for “unsportsmanlike conduct” or “verbal or physical abuse” during this time, he will be immediately suspended from all ATP events for eight weeks. The German was also fined an additional $25,000.
In a recent interview with Eurosport, Wilander addressed the topic of player behavior on the ATP tour.
“In tennis you learn how to behave properly, you learn how to call things out that are close and call them in, you make your own calls, you call the score out,” Wilander said. “It’s just a game where you learn a lot about life and educate and rules and these guys are taking it to a complete different level.””And I do know from Lleyton Hewitt telling me that every kid in Australia basically, is doing what Nick Kyrgios does,” Wilander continued. “I’m not saying they’re throwing rackets and whatever, but they hit the ball like Nick Kyrgios and that’s kind of bad enough in a way because Nick is so talented, but he doesn’t use his feet at all in any of his shots. He just slaps it with his arm. And they look up to these guys. So I think it’s atrocious.”
The former World No. 1 then explained why he is particularly opposed to racket abuse, while arguing Zverev’s conduct should be punished more severely for this reason.
“I actually think it’s horrible,” The Swede said. “I think breaking a racket on a tennis court is the lowest for me because most kids, they cannot afford to buy tennis rackets. I think it’s wrong. I think it’s completely wrong.””That’s why I asked: I think Zverev needs to be not on probation, he needs to be taken off the tour for a month, two months,”Wilander added. “Maybe it’s the first Grand Slam, maybe it’s the first ATP Masters 1000 but something that hurts him rather than just be able to not do the same thing again and then I’m fine. It doesn’t make sense. Life doesn’t work like that.”
Alexander Zverev in action at singles and doubles events in 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters
Alexander Zverev talks to the media at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters
Alexander Zverev will face Federico Delbonis in his first match at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters today. The World No. 3 holds a 2-0 head-to-head record against the 34th-ranked Argentine.
The Monte-Carlo Masters is the only claycourt ATP Masters 1000 tournament the German has not won. He holds an 8-6 (57%) record from his five previous appearances at the event.
He’s also participating in the doubles event in Monte-Carlo, playing alongside close friend Marcelo Melo. The pair have reached the quarterfinals and will face Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arévalo.