MEXICO CITY, ACAPULCO — After losing a doubles match, third-ranked Alexander Zverev was ejected from the Mexican Open after forcefully slamming his racket on the umpire’s chair.
The incident occurred after Zverev and Marcelo Melo were defeated 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 by Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara on Tuesday night in Acapulco.
Zverev smashed his racket three times against the umpire’s chair, sat for a bit, then got back up and yelled at umpire Alessandro Germani that he “destroyed the whole (expletive) match,” before striking the chair with his racket once more as the umpire climbed down. Fearing being hit, Germani had moved his feet back at one point.
Zverev had received a code violation minutes earlier after ranting and swearing in protest of a ruled-in shot, setting up match point. After that, Glasspool ended the game with an ace.
“Alexander Zverev has been pulled from the event in Acapulco due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night,” the ATP announced on Twitter early Wednesday.
In the singles, the 24-year-old German was the defending champion. His second-round opponent, Peter Gojowczyk, has been handed a walkover, according to the ATP website.
Zverev handed his shattered racket to a child in the front row as the audience booed.
In a statement put on his Instagram account on Wednesday, Zverev apologised.
“It’s tough to express how deeply I regret my behaviour during and after yesterday’s doubles match,” he wrote. “I have privately apologised to the chair umpire for my inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour toward him, and I am only disappointed in myself. It simply should not have happened, and there is no justification for it.”
Zverev apologised to fans, the competition, and “the sport that I love” as a probable punishment loomed.
He continued, “As you know, I leave everything on the court.” “I left way too much the day before. I’m going to spend the next few days reflecting on my behaviour and how I can prevent it from happening again. I apologise for disappointing you.”
Zverev was making his sixth appearance in Mexico, having won the title in 2021 by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
“What happened yesterday is a shame for the tournament and for the spectators,” tournament director Raul Zurutuza said. “Unsportsmanlike behaviour, on the other hand, is not tolerated. It is clearly stated in the rule book, and it must be followed.”
Daniil Medvedev advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire, continuing his quest for the No. 1 position.
If he wins the tournament, the 26-year-old Russian will be able to pass Novak Djokovic for the top spot in the men’s rankings.
Medvedev, who won the US Open in 2021 and finished second to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open last month, is making his debut appearance in Mexico.
“It’s not easy to come back after some relaxation and time off competition,” Medvedev stated after coming back from a break down in the second set. “I fought till the very end against a very tough opponent, and I’m glad I won.”
Pablo Andujar, who defeated Alex Hernandez 6-0, 6-1, will be his next opponent.
Medvedev will become the first player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray to hold the top ranking if he wins this tournament or reaches the Acapulco final and Djokovic does not win the championship in Dubai.
Medvedev will become the first player not named Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray to occupy the top rank since 2004 if he wins this tournament or reaches the Acapulco final while Djokovic does not win the title in Dubai.
He stated he’s considering the achievement, but that it might not happen this week.
“I know it’s a possibility in the next three tournaments,” he added. “That’s why I’m going to attempt to do it, because it’s no longer a fantasy, it’s a goal.” “And in order to attain it, I’ll attempt to play well in the next three tourname
Fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who beat Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2 in the first round, could be Medvedev’s toughest test in Mexico.
On Wednesday, Nadal will face Stefan Kozlov, who has won titles in Acapulco in 2005, 2013, and 20.
In the Acapulco semifinals, Medvedev might face Nadal for the first time since the Australian Open final. Nadal came back to win the final in five sets at Melbourne Park, breaking a tie with Federer and Djokovic for the most Grand Slam singles titles by a man. It also kept Medvedev from being the first guy in Open history to win his second major title at the next Grand Slam event.
After winning the Australian Open, Nadal revealed he was considering skipping Acapulco to recuperate his body before playing at Indian Wells, but he later opted to return to Mexico.
“I’ve played less tournaments in recent years… and now I do it where I feel like,” Nadal said. “At this moment in my career, this is a venue (that) leaves me feeling happy.”
Unlike Medvedev, Nadal, 35, has stated that a top ranking is no longer something he desires.
“For me, that period has past. I believe that all of my physical issues have taken that opportunity away from me, and I am no longer pursuing that ambition. It would be a mistake if I pursued it “he stated “I’d be really happy if I could do it while only playing in the tournaments that I can.”
Given the amount and quality of younger players who can compete in more tournaments than he can, he believes that is improbable.
In other games, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Laslo Djere 7-6 (7) 7-6 (4) on Tuesday, Tommy Paul proceeded to a match against Dusan Lajovic after fifth-seeded Matteo Berrettini resigned in the second set due to an abdominal ailment, and Yoshihito Nishioka upset Feliciano Lopez 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.