Men’s tennis governing body has handed world number three Alexander Zverev a suspended eight-week ban for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at last month’s ATP 500 event in Acapulco, for which he was expelled from the tournament. Zverev was fined $20,000 for verbal abuse, $20,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and forfeited more than $31,000 in prize money and all rankings points earned from singles and doubles action at the Abierto Mexicano tournament.

Following a review, the ATP found the 24-year-old German had committed “aggravated behaviour” and issued an additional fine of $25,000 and an eight-week ban from any ATP-sanctioned event. The ATP said, however, the ban and the additional fine were suspended, providing that over a probation period ending one year after the incident, Zverev does not incur any more fines for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After losing in doubles at Acapulco and upset over a line call in the match, Zverev approached umpire Alessandro Germani’s chair and came perilously close to hitting him as he swung at the official’s stand before heading towards his courtside seat. The 2020 U.S. Open runner-up then approached the chair a second time and again hit it while shouting expletives.

Shortly before the match ended, Germani handed Zverev a code violation for yelling and swearing in protest of the shot that was ruled in and set up match point. Zverev, who was the singles defending champion, apologised for his behaviour.

The biggest penalty in men’s tennis to date was handed down to Australian Nick Kyrgios in 2019 for verbally abusing a chair umpire and smashing two rackets. After an initial fine of $113,000, he was given a suspended ban of 16 weeks and an additional fine of $25,000 following an ATP investigation.

Italy’s Fabio Fognini was also provisionally suspended for two Grand Slam tournaments and fined $96,000 following the 2017 U.S. Open where he had directed vulgar language toward Swedish chair umpire Louise Engzell during his first-round loss.

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