Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev has been put on probation for one year by the ATP for violently hitting the chair umpire’s stand repeatedly with his racquet after a loss in doubles at the Mexico Open.
If Zverev receives a code violation that results in a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct or for “verbal or physical abuse of an official, opponent, spectator or any other person while on-court or on-site”, he will be suspended from ATP events for eight weeks and fined an additional $25,000 ($A34,000), the men’s tennis tour announced on Tuesday.
Zverev, the world No.3, has until Friday to appeal the ruling of Miro Bratoev, the ATP senior vice-president of rules and competition.
Mr Bratoev conducted a review of an incident as the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico, and determined that Zverev committed what is termed aggravated behaviour under the major offence section of the ATP rulebook.
The ATP characterised the decision as issuing Zverev a fine and suspension that are being “withheld”, unless his behaviour warranted the punishments.
The probation ends on February 22, 2023 – one year after the episode occurred.
The 24-year-old German, who was the Mexico Open defending champion in singles, was kicked out of the tournament for yelling and cursing at official Alessandro Germani and violently striking the umpire’s chair no fewer than four times.
Just before the incident, Zverev and partner Marcelo Melo lost a doubles match against Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.
Mr Germani gave Zverev a code violation for yelling and swearing while arguing about an opponent’s shot that was ruled in, which set up match point.
Once the match was over Zverev swatted his racquet at the umpire’s stand with Mr Germani still seated in it.
Zverev was initially fined $40,000 ($A55,000) and forfeited more than $30,000 ($A41,000) in prize money, along with all of the rankings points he earned at the Mexico Open.
The ATP said at the time Zverev was docked $20,000 ($A27,500) each for verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct, the maximum on-site penalty for each violation.
Zverev – who later apologised for his behaviour – returned to action late last week and won two singles matches to help Germany beat Brazil in Davis Cup action this weekend.
In October, the ATP opened an investigation into domestic violation accusations from a former girlfriend of Zverev.
Australian Nick Kyrgios was the recipient of the biggest penalty in men’s tennis to date for verbally abusing a chair umpire and smashing two racquets during a match in 2019.
After an initial fine of $113,000 ($A154,000), he was given a suspended ban of 16 weeks and an additional fine of $25,000 ($A34,000) following an ATP investigation.