Several high profile tennis figure have renewed calls for the ATP to dole out substantially harsher penalties for smashing racquets and other acts of anger after more controversy at the Miami Open.
The behaviour of playes has increasingly come under the spotlight after a spate of incidents at recent tournaments which have seen ballkids and officials almost hit by flying racquets and balls.
'ONE WAY TRAFFIC': Tennis world stunned by Nick Kyrgios demolition job
American star Jenson Brooksby was the latest to draw the ire of fans when he twice threw his racquet during his first round win over Federico Coria.
Despite leading in the decisive third set, Brooksby threw his racquet in anger after giving up a break point.
The racquet ricocheted and clipped the legs of one of the ballboys, prompting an apology from the American player.
Coria argued for an immediate default, but his calls fell on deaf ears as Brroksby went through to the next round.
Brooksby's was the latest in a string of incidents which have called the standards of behaviour on tour into question.
Alexander Zverev's post-match outburst at the chair umpire, in which he smashed his racquet on the chair itself, was followed by Nick Kyrgios smashing his racquet after a recent loss to Rafael Nadal.
Similarly to Brooksby, the ballboy had to dodge the racquet, with Kyrgios later apologising and making amends.
Jenson Brooksby got a point penalty for this. His opponent, Federico Coria, seemingly thought he should get more. Can see why. https://t.co/YTgy4xF5B8
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) March 24, 2022
This is a better view of the Brooksby incident. 2 scenarios for a default (per a Supervisor)
1) The contact, even if unintentional, creates a serious injury.
2) If the act is intentional. So let’s say a player tried hit a ball at the umpire, but missed, that’s a default. pic.twitter.com/ECepplpkqq
— Rob Koenig (@RobKoenigTennis) March 25, 2022
While players have all apologised for their indiscretions, many fans have called for the ATP to introduce harsher punishments to prevent situations from escalating in the first place.
Veteran tennis writer for the New York Times, Christopher Clarey, said the trend 'has to stop'.
"The more you let it slide or slap it on the wrist the more it will increase. This, in my book, should be an automatic default, even if, as in Indian Wells or here, the ballperson dodged the racket," he wrote on Twitter.
“Officials or tournament personnel should never be put at physical risk by a player’s lack of self control.
“And to me, this falls into the intentional category. He did not intentionally target the ballkid but he did intentionally fling the racket into a part of the court where people could be put at risk.”
Tennis fans fed up with racquet smashing stars
Clarey wasn't the only high-profile tennis figure to raise their concerns.
No Challenges Remaining podcast host Ben Rothenberg said the relatively lenient punishment handed to Zverev had set an alarming precedent.
Zverev was handed an eight-week suspended ban for the incident, in addition to a substantial financial penalty.
Rothernberg said that the lenient Zverev decision had made it next to impossible to set a new precedent discouraging such behaviour.
“What is happening in this sport?" he asked.
“Tennis players, PLEASE stop launching projectiles on the court with no regard for the other people on court. And tennis authorities, PLEASE start taking this seriously so that players get the message.
"Shouldn’t take an eventual, inevitable grievous injury to do that.
“The bar is set somewhere truly nuts right now for ATP discipline.”
Many were stunned Brooksby was allowed to continue playing, with many assuming he would have been defaulted in a similar manner to Novak Djokovic at the 2020 US Open, when he inadvertently hit a lineswoman with a carelessly struck ball.
In addition to the aforementioned incidents, Australia star Jordon Thomson added his name to the list of players in hot water, after he sent a ballgirl ducking for cover during his win over Jo Wilfred-Tsonga.
His venture at the Miami Open was later shut down by compatriot Alex de Minaur, with the world No. 28 proving far too good on his way to a 6-2, 6-3.
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