Alexander Zverev news: Mats Wilander calls for German No 1 to undergo rehab
Seven-time Grand Slam Winner and respected tennis broadcast journalist Mats Wilander believes further action against Alexander Zverev is necessary in light of his violent outburst in Acapulco.
Zverev struck the umpire’s chair several times after a doubles match in an outburst that has drawn universal condemnation.
The German No 1 was thrown out of the Mexican Open fined $40,000 (£30,000) and forfeited his prize money and ATP ranking points.
Wilander feels that this kind of violent outburst, which could very easily have resulted in an injury to the umpire, should see offenders submit to a rehabilitation process to be allowed back onto the ATP Tour.
“If a player breaks his racquet on the umpire’s chair and he is literally a few centimetres away from hitting the umpire’s leg, he should not be allowed to get on a tennis court until he has gone through some kind of rehab, some kind of time,” Wilander told Eurosport.
“We need to punish him accordingly, and allowing him to come out and play professional tennis the week after or two weeks after, that is too soon.
“To me, money does not do it, and I think you either give someone with that behaviour a three-month suspension or a six-month suspension. You do not allow him to play the most important tournaments on his calendar. Now, the most important tournaments are most probably the Grand Slams, the ATP 1000, the Davis Cup.
“I mean, I do not know where you draw the line, but certainly going out and competing in any shape or form straight away, it does not seem like that is very fair to other players.
“Maybe it is time to have some kind of a professional body of tennis that makes all these decisions, and it is the combination of the ATP, the ITF, the WTA, the Olympic committee. We get together, and these kinds of behaviours, no, you’re not allowed to play on any circuit until you have gone through some kind of a rehabilitation process.
“So no, it is not great for tennis. For him personally, it is most probably a good move that he can suddenly start playing, not just for himself, but to play for his country and his team-mates. But no, I think that is … it does not send a great message for professional tennis.”
Wilander feels that Zverev’s passion for the sport is without question but his behaviour was way over the line.
“I applaud him for being an emotional wreck at the end of the loss in a doubles match – that just shows that he cares, but you have to show that you care in different ways.
“I think I go back to what happened against Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open. After 45 minutes, he was destroying a tennis racquet on the court.”
Wilander added that he deplores racquet abuse, which speaks to the privilege of top players, with a limitless supply of the best equipment.
“I do not like destroying tennis racquets, even though it has become more and more acceptable in the professional world of tennis.
“I absolutely hate that behaviour because there are more tennis players in the world that cannot afford a second racquet. So do not show the kids that that is how we treat the material that we use.”
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