Rafael Nadal Indian Wells Masters 2022

Rafael Nadal urges tougher penalties for abuse violations after Alexander Zverev’s suspended ban

Rafael Nadal believes Alexander Zverev should have received a stronger punishment that will deter younger generations from committing the same acts, saying “we have to be a positive example for the kids.”

Last month World number three Zverev was disqualified from the Mexican Open after he launched an attack on the chair umpire’s stand. The defending champion swung his racket at the stand a total of four times and exploded into an expletive-laden tirade.

As such, Zverev was disqualified and fined $40,000 (£30,000) for unsportsmanlike conduct and physical and verbal abuse. He was then subsequently docked of all rankings points and prize money earned at the Acapulco event.

He was also subject to a further ATP investigation, which determined he will receive a suspended eight-week suspension that would be invoked if he commits the same code violations within the next year.

Many high-profile players have aired their concern and frustration towards the German Olympic gold medallist’s actions, including 23-time Grand Slam great Serena Williams and 18-time Major winner Chris Evert.

Now, 21-time Slam legend Nadal has voiced his concerns over how Zverev’s actions and his consequent punishments will affect the behaviour of younger players.

Similarly, the Spaniard had previously said he felt Zverev deserved his expulsion, again citing the examples professional players set for younger generations.

Speaking to the media ahead of his opening Indian Wells Masters fixture, Nadal said “I have a good relationship with Sascha [Zverev], I like him, I practice with him very often, so I wish him all the very best.

“And he knows that he was wrong and he recognised that very early and that’s a positive thing.

“On the other hand, if we are not able to control this type of attitude on court, not just this one instance in particular, there has been other stuff going on in the last couple of months.

“If we are not able to penalise these types of attitudes in a little stronger way, then we as players will feel stronger and stronger all the time.

“In this sport, we have to be a positive example, especially for the kids.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.