Andy Murray has voiced his concern over the actions of Alexander Zverev, who was kicked out of the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco, Mexico, for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after his doubles match.
Speaking after his loss to Jannik Sinner in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Murray said he had seen Zverev’s actions where, while partnering Brazilian player Marcelo Melo in doubles, the German world No. 3 came perilously close to hitting umpire Alessandro Germani when he repeatedly assaulted the umpire’s chair with his racket after a 6-2 4-6 (10-6) defeat to the British-Finn pair of Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.
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“Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco,” the ATP said in a statement.
“Look, it was not good," Murray said. “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. I’m not perfect myself.
“However, when you’re ripping your tennis racket right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can’t be doing that. I know one of the British guys who was playing, as well. it can be a bit dangerous with graphite flying off the racket all over the place.
“Yeah, it was not good.”
Zverev said he regretted his behaviour and apologised for the incident.
“It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday,” Zverev said in a statement.
“I have privately apologised 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. I would also like to apologise to my fans, the tournament, and the sport that I love.”
After shaking hands with the opponents, the 24-year-old Zverev, ranked third in singles, approached the umpire’s chair and hit it repeatedly before heading towards his courtside seat, upset over a line call during the match earlier.
He approached the chair a second time and once again hit it while shouting expletives.
“As you know, I leave everything 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,” Zverev added. “I am sorry for letting you down.”
The former US Open finalist completed a first-round win over American Jenson Brooksby in the Abierto Mexicano tournament at 4.55am local time on Tuesday, the latest ever finish for a professional tennis match.
Last year’s winner, Zverev was scheduled to meet fellow German Peter Gojowczyk, who will now get a walkover to advance to the quarter-finals.
Zverev’s angry outburst could earn him more sanctions from the men’s governing body.
In 2019, after an initial fine of $113,000, Australian Nick Kyrgios was handed a suspended ban of 16 weeks and an additional fine of $25,000 for “aggravated behaviour” by the ATP following an internal investigation.
The ATP in October last year also launched an internal investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against Zverev, by his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.