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Alexander Zverev expelled from Mexican Open after hitting out at umpire’s chair

World number three Alexander Zverev has been booted out of a tournament in Acapulco and faces a hefty punishment after repeatedly smashing an umpire’s chair with his racket following a doubles match.

The shocking incident occurred moments after the German and Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo were beaten 6-2 4-6 10-6 by Britain’s Lloyd Glasspool and Finland’s Harri Heliovaara,

The four players shook hands at the net before Zverev turned to the umpire and aggressively hit the chair with his racket three times, almost catching the official’s leg with one swing.

As the umpire stood to climb down from his chair, 24-year-old Zverev walked back over and took another swing.

Tournament organisers swiftly confirmed that Zverev would play no further part in the Mexican Open, posting on Twitter: “Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco.”

The ATP has yet to announce any sanctions, but its website shows that Zverev’s second-round opponent in the singles, Peter Gojowczyk, has been given a walkover.

Zverev later posted an apology for his violent outburst on his Instagram account.

He wrote: “It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday.

“I have privately apologised to the chair umpire because my outburst towards him was wrong and unacceptable, and I am only disappointed in myself.

“It should not have happened and there is no excuse. I would also like to apologise to my fans, the tournament and the sport that I love.

“As you know, I leave everything on the court. Yesterday, I left too much. I’m going to take the coming days to reflect – on my actions and how I can ensure that it will not happen again. I am sorry for letting you down.”

Zverev faced a wave of criticism for his actions with coach Brad Gilbert and former player-turned-broadcaster Patrick McEnroe taking to Twitter to call for him to be suspended.

Andy Murray was asked about the incident following his defeat by Jannik Sinner in Dubai.

Britain’s former world number one said: “Look, it was not good. It was dangerous, reckless.

“I obviously understand lots of players, athletes across lots of sports, can get very frustrated. Certainly me, myself, I’ve not always acted in the way I would want on the tennis court. I’m certainly not claiming to be an angel. I’m not perfect myself.

“However, when you’re ripping your tennis racket right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can’t be doing that.

“I know obviously one of the British guys who was playing, as well, a bit dangerous. It’s graphite flying off the racquet, as well. Yeah, it was not good.”

World number one Novak Djokovic, also playing in Dubai, agreed with the decision to disqualify Zverev from the tournament.

Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open in 2020 after hitting the ball at the line umpire.

“I made mistakes in the past where I’ve had tantrums on the court,” he said. “I understand what the player is going through.

“But, of course, I do not justify his actions. He has, with the words that he had in the statement, handled it in a right way. He said he made a mistake and his actions were not appropriate.

“I think the disqualification decision was not too harsh. I think it was correct under the circumstances.

“Of course, it is harsh for a player to get disqualified from a tournament. I mean, I know. A year and a half ago I had something I can’t say similar, but I was disqualified from a grand slam with unintentionally hitting the line umpire. I realise it is a mistake and I have to take it.

“Hopefully he can reflect on that and not let something like that happen ever again in his life. I’m sure he’s going to approach it maturely.”

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