Novak Djokovic's staggering reaction to Alexander Zverev 'disgrace'

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after Alexander Zverev's umpire incident.
Novak Djokovic has spoken out about Alexander Zverev's umpire incident. Image: Getty/Tennis TV

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have condemned Alexander Zverev's actions after the World No.3 was kicked out of the Mexico Open for attacking an umpire's chair and verbally using him.

Zverev was seething after a doubles match in Acapulco on Tuesday night, smashing his racquet into the umpire's chair as he left the court before calling him a "f***ing idiot".

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The German star has since issued an apology for his actions after the ATP announced that he had been withdrawn from the entire event - meaning he is also removed from the singles draw.

Speaking after their matches in Dubai, grand slam champions Djokovic and Murray were critical of Zverev's actions.

Djokovic, who was famously disqualified from the US Open in 2020 after accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball, said he expects Zverev to reflect on what he has done.

"I think he said it all in that statement. He realises that it was a mistake," Djokovic said.

"I understand the frustration. Sometimes on the court you feel in the heat of the battle lots of different emotions.

"I made mistakes in the past where I've had tantrums on the court. I understand what the player is going through.

"But, of course, I do not justify his actions. He has, with the words that he had in the statement, handled it in a right way.

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

Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the US Open in 2020 after accidentally hitting a line judge.
Novak Djokovic was kicked out of the US Open in 2020 for accidentally hitting a line judge. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

However Djokovic firmly stated that he would never encourage the tour to hand out harsh sanctions against a player and said there were many others who have committed similar offences.

"I'm never going to encourage ATP disqualifying or fining a player because I'm not in a position to do that. Why would I do that?," he said.

Former World No.1 Murray said: "Look, 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. 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."

Alexander Zverev, pictured here attacking the umpire's chair in ugly scenes in Mexico.
Alexander Zverev attacked the umpire's chair in ugly scenes in Mexico. Image: Amazon Prime

Alexander Zverev apologises for 'unacceptable' actions

The ATP has yet to reveal the extent of the fine Zverev will be handed, and it remains unclear whether a suspension is on the table.

"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 hit the umpire's chair repeatedly before heading towards his court-side seat, upset over a line call during the match tiebreaker.

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."

with agencies

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