Alexander Zverev Australian Open 2022

Slam legend thinks Alexander Zverev should face much harsher punishments for outburst

Mats Wilander thinks Alexander Zverev should face a six-month suspension, undergo a rehabilitation program and even suggested an independent body be formed to combat violent outbursts.

Reigning champion Zverev was ejected from the Mexican Open after he swung his racket at the Chair Umpire’s stand a total of four times, nearly connecting with the Umpire on the second swing.

As a result, Zverev was booted from the tournament and fined $40,000 (£30,000) and was docked all ranking points and prize money he  earned at the event.

However, whilst the German World number three faces a further investigation he is free to compete at upcoming events, something seven-time Slam ace Mats Wilander is strongly opposed to.

Speaking to Eurosport, Wilander said “if a player breaks his racket on the umpire’s chair and he’s 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.

“We need to punish him accordingly, and allowing him to come out and play professional tennis the week after or two weeks after, is too soon.

“Money does not do it, and I think you either give someone with that behaviour a three-month suspension or a six-month suspension,” he believes.

“You don’t 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 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’s very fair to other players.”

Wilander also proposed the idea of implementing an independent body to oversee such offences and violations.

He said “maybe it’s time to have some kind of professional body that makes all these decisions, and 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.

“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.

“It does not send a great message for professional tennis,” the Swede concluded.

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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.