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Zverev’s penalty

by TN

In Acapulco, Alexander Zverev attacked an umpire (he didn’t hit him directly, but it was close enough). But what was Zverev’s penalty?

The attack wasn’t pretty and the tennis world seemed to agree that some kind of suspension was in order for hothead Zverev (he still has his abuse allegation from the ex-girlfriend, so this didn’t look good for his brand image). He forfeited his Acapulco prize money (around $30k) and got a $40k fine. Still, since these things easily set a precedent and it was a very ugly situation, everyone and their mother expected a suspension.

What is Zverev’s penalty?

A few days ago the ATP Announced that Zverev receives an eight-week suspension and additional fine of US$25,000. That sounds all fine and good until you read the rest of the press release. This is what it says:

The ATP’s Senior Vice President of Rules & Competition, Miro Bratoev, has completed his review of Alexander Zverev’s conduct in Acapulco, Mexico, where the player was withdrawn from the tournament for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. The review determined that Zverev committed Aggravated Behaviour under the Player Major Offense section of ATP Rules.

As a result, Zverev has been issued an additional fine of US$25,000 and a suspension for a period of eight weeks from any ATP-sanctioned event. However, the fine and suspension are withheld on the condition that, over a probation period ending 22 February 2023 (one year from the incident), the player does not incur a further Code Violation that results in a fine for:

Unsportsmanlike Conduct based upon an act, such as disrespectful or aggressive behaviour directed towards an official, opponent, spectator, or other person during or upon conclusion of a match Verbal or Physical Abuse of an official, opponent, spectator, or any other person while on-court or on-site. If the conditions are met, the penalties will be formally dismissed following the completion of the probation period. If the conditions are not met, the penalties will be invoked after any appeal process is exhausted.


The word “however” is usually an important one. And in the context of Zverev’s situation it basically means that they thought the fine was enough unless he does it again. Then he will get suspended. For eight weeks.

Is this enough? Don’t you want to set an example about these things? I think this pretty much tells players that if you lose your head badly once, it means nothing, but if you do it twice, that’s another story. Imagine if it worked the same way for crimes.

Not sure what you think about this, but my general feeling about the ATP’s handling of this and similar situations is “lukewarm” and “political”. Meaning that they are afraid to take any stronger actions or words about pretty much anything. It’s evident that the ATP is a highly political organisation that treads carefully and don’t want to stir any pots. It’s a shame, because we don’t want to live in a society without backbone. Does the ATP have one?

Your thoughts?

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Caleb March 9, 2022 - 16:25

I think a suspension and probation period would be better.
Fines and suspensions almost facilitate these outbursts by saying “you can behave poorly as long as you pay us for it and sit out from a few tournaments.” No behavior change.
Whereas a probation says “you need to change your behavior over a period, and we are watching to make sure you do.”
Some type of mandatory counseling/therapy would probably be ideal.
Getting enraged at yourself is one thing, but at the umpire/others is not good.

Eric March 9, 2022 - 21:34

These guys forget that they are nothing more than entertainers. They are not the salvation to all mankind. As entertainers, they are an example to our youth on what is and what is not proper. In all major sports, I can give you examples, that bad behavior (off and on the field) has led to a lifetime suspensions. I have never seen in any other sport an athlete threaten a referee in a violent manner, and then go on with their life. Even violent sports such as Hockey or Boxing would not allow a player to threaten a ref.

Joe L March 10, 2022 - 03:54


Kalle March 10, 2022 - 04:05

How many years did Dorkovich get?


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