‘Why are they breaking down?’ – Chris Evert concerned about ATP player mental health
Retired legend Chris Evert has called for a greater understanding of player’s mental health claiming ”it is something that needs to be addressed” following several high profile incidents on the ATP tour.
In recent weeks the ATP Tour has seen a number on-court outbursts and incidents of misconduct including when World number three Alexander Zverev smashed his racket against the umpire’s chair, receiving a suspended ban, a $40,000 fine and was made to forfeit all the points and prize money he earned at that event.
Nick Kyrgios received a total of $60,000 (£44,000) in fines for his bad behavior and breaking multiple code violations across both the Indian Wells Masters and Miami Open.
As a response, the ATP has taken a stricter stance on player conduct violations and are set to enforce harsher punishments.
Grand Slam great Chris Evert has now suggested that emotional and mental fragility could be a factor negatively impacting the players and urged for a greater discussion about mental health in the tennis community.
Speaking to Eurosport, Evert said, “I don’t know any other sport where the athlete abuses the official as much as tennis. I worry about the behaviour of players and I even worry about breaking down emotionally on the court and walking off in the middle of a match and I worry about the emotional and mental relapses or breakdowns that these players are having.
“I worry about the players. I’m not making any judgments on the players, but it’s an area of concern: why are players losing control and breaking racquets and putting others in harm’s way? Why are they breaking down on the court emotionally? It’s something that needs to be addressed. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Tennis is a sport and it’s not life. I mean even since I’ve had some health issues, I realize it’s a sport. It should be viewed with a different perspective.”
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