Rafael Nadal hopes Alexander Zverev’s expulsion ‘serves as a lesson’ as he ‘deserves’ his punishment
Rafael Nadal has condemned Alexander Zverev’s attack on a chair umpire and believes he needs to set a better example to younger audiences of the sport.
21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal is often regarded as one of the most sportsmanlike players in tennis and has earned himself a reputation of being clean and respectable in his words and actions.
As such, the newly-crowned Australian Open winner has condemned world number three Zverev’s actions at the Mexican Open.
In a doubles tie, Zverev launched an expletive-filled rant at the chair umpire before then swinging his racket at the chair umpire’s stand a total of four times, narrowly missing the umpire’s foot on the second swing.
As a result, the Olympic gold medallist was ejected from the event and has been handed a $40,000 fine.
He will also no longer receive his $31,500 prize money nor any ranking points he earned at the tournament.
Speaking after his Mexican Open quarter-final win, Nadal said: “It’s unfortunate, without a doubt.
“I feel sorry for him as I have a good relationship with Alexander.
“In the end, he deserves the sanction because you can’t act in this way.
“One cannot behave in this manner and I believe he is conscious of that.
“I think Sascha [Zverev] is aware of that and I hope this will serve as a lesson for him and for other young players who sometimes lose control on the court.
Nadal added that he believes the ATP has a responsibility to make an example of such poor conduct.
He said: “I think the organisation needs to be strict about it because the images spread quickly on social media and there are millions of children watching and they develop these attitudes.”
“They base their attitude on ours and we must set an example and show a minimum of respect.
“I understand there are moments of frustration and anger but we need to try to be an example.”
Whilst Nadal believes the expulsion was deserved, he remained reluctant to pass comment on the specific punishments Zverev has been issued, saying: “I am not going to enter into what is or is not fair in terms of sanction.
“But in the end you have to stop that type of attitude from becoming fashionable.”
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