Boris Becker on ATP’s crackdown on bad behaviour: ‘I don’t want to see computers and machines on court’
He concedes “everything has a limit”, but Boris Becker believes tennis is “an entertainment sport” and “a bit of blood, sweat and tears” are good.
Following an increase in boorish behaviour the past few months, the ATP announced they have instructed on-court officials to take a stricter stance in judging violations while those who continue to overstep the mark face harsher penalties.
The move came after the likes of Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Jenson Brooksby were all involved in various unsavoury incidents, ranging from hitting the umpire’s chair with a racket to verbal abuse and nearly hitting ball persons after throwing their rackets.
Despite criticism from various corners, Becker feels “emotions are good” for the sport.
“I’m quite happy that we were allowed to play and ultimately go berserk under the exclusion of the social media and the microphones so to speak,” he told Eurosport Germany’s tennis podcast.
“It’s more difficult for the players today. Everything is extremely transparent, too transparent for my taste. And then the question is how does the tennis authority deal with it?
“Tennis is also an entertainment sport. I don’t want to see computers and machines on the court either.
“Emotions are good, a bit of blood, sweat and tears, that stimulates, that was already the case with us. But everything has a limit.”
Becker admits that the “line is thin”, but feels players sometimes deserve to be given a wake-up call.
“I know how to chop up rackets or how to treat the referee badly,” he said.
“That’s why I won’t criticise him now. But I was also punished. I wasn’t suspended either, but I was punished and then you wake up. And yes, the line is thin. What else do you allow?
“The way [Daniil] Medvedev insulted the referee in Melbourne [at the Australian Open]. That makes John McEnroe almost harmless. Or Nick Kyrgios – the things he does on the court… We in our generation were also bad, but the boys today, they are at least as bad.
“If you forbid a player to play in tournaments, that’s the maximum punishment. Where they are guaranteed to wake up is when they are not allowed to play in four or five tournaments.”
World No 7 Casper Ruud and seven-times Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander are in favour of stricter punishment with the latter insisting Zverev should have been banned after he took his frustration out on the umpire’s chair in Acapulco.
Becker, though, is not impressed by those who criticise players.
He added: “What I don’t like at all is when other players criticise that. Everyone really has to stay within themselves and look in the mirror.
“We’re all not perfect, everyone freaks out sometimes and you just don’t do that. I also call the tennis players team-mates, so you really shouldn’t comment publicly on other people’s misconduct. I think it’s wrong.
“The penalties are there, they don’t need to be reinvented. The question is what has to happen for a player to really be punished for weeks?”
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