Alexander Zverev speaks out after 'appalling' umpire incident

Alexander Zverev, pictured here attacking the umpire's chair in Mexico.
Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the Mexico Open after attacking the umpire's chair. Image: Amazon Prime

Alexander Zverev has apologised for his "wrong and unacceptable" actions after being kicked out of the Mexico Open for attacking an umpire's chair with his racquet.

Partnering Marcelo Melo in a doubles match on Tuesday night, Zverev came perilously close to hitting umpire Alessandro Germani when he repeatedly smashed his racquet against the umpire's chair after a 6-2 4-6 (10-6) loss to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

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The World No.3 was seething that the umpire didn't overrule a line call late in the super tiebreaker, blasting the official with a verbal assault that then turned physical.

The ATP later announced that Zverev had been withdrawn from the entire tournament, meaning he can't play in the singles event either.

"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 approached the umpire's chair and hit it repeatedly before heading towards his courtside seat.

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," he added.

"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."

Alexander Zverev facing suspension after umpire incident

Zverev had been scheduled to meet fellow German Peter Gojowczyk in the second round of the singles, but Gojowczyk 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.

The ATP in October last year also launched an internal investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against Zverev by ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.

Andy Murray was critical of Zverev's actions when asked about the incident after his match in Dubai.

"Look, it was not good. It was dangerous, reckless," Murray said.

"I obviously understand lots of players, athletes across lots of sports, can get very frustrated.

Alexander Zverev, pictured here in action at the Mexico Open in Acapulco.
Alexander Zverev in action at the Mexico Open in Acapulco. (Photo by Xin Yuewei/Xinhua via Getty Images)

"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 racquet right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can't be doing that.

"I know obviously one of the British guys who was playing, as well, a bit dangerous. It's graphite flying off the racquet, as well. Yeah, it was not good."

Novak Djokovic said the disqualification was correct, but offered some support for Zverev.

"I've made mistakes in the past where I've had tantrums on the court," Djokovic told reporters in Dubai.

"I understand what the player is going through. But, of course, I do not justify his actions.

"I think the disqualification decision was not too harsh. I think it was correct under the circumstances."

Djokovic was famously disqualified from the US Open in 2020 after inadvertently hitting a female line judge with a ball after losing a point.

with AAP

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