Watch: Alexander Zverev smashes umpire's chair with racket and fires volley of abuse at official

Watch: Alexander Zverev attacks umpire's chair with racket and fires volley of abuse at official - ATP TOUR / SHUTTERSTOCK
Watch: Alexander Zverev attacks umpire's chair with racket and fires volley of abuse at official - ATP TOUR / SHUTTERSTOCK

Alexander Zverev has apologised after he was ejected from the Mexican Open for violently attacking the umpire's chair with his racket during his doubles match.

The world No 3 will almost certainly face a fine and even a suspension for his shocking actions on Wednesday, which saw him physically and verbally abuse umpire Alessandro Germani. Zverev, 24, has already been withdrawn from the singles because of his "unsportsmanlike conduct".

Playing in the first round of the doubles draw in Acapulco, Zverev argued with Italian Germani over a line call late in the deciding set tiebreak, saying, “look where the ball bounced, 8-6 in the tiebreak, for f---'s sake. It’s f------ your line. You're a f------ idiot”.

When he and partner Marcelo Melo of Brazil eventually lost the match to Briton Lloyd Glasspool and Finland's Harri Heliövaara shortly afterwards, losing the tiebreak 10-6, Zverev immediately hit out at the umpire again - but this time physically.

Instead of shaking the umpire's hand at the end of the match, he approached the chair and struck it with his racket three times. Visibly shaken, Germani flinched as the racket almost struck him on the foot, but even as he moved to get down from his chair Zverev returned to thump it a fourth time.

“You f------ destroyed the whole f------ match," he shouted at the Italian, as the crowd booed.

It was another low moment for Zverev who is currently under investigation by the ATP, following allegations of domestic abuse by ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova, which include violent physical abuse. He has denied all allegations. The ATP provided its first update on the investigation since October on Wednesday, saying in a statement: “The investigation is ongoing. We have contracted a third party with expertise in this area to assist in our investigative process. Further information will be provided once the investigation is complete.”

Following the outburst early on Wednesday morning, he issued a public apology expressing his "regret". "It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday," Zverev said in a statement. "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 just 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 am 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."

Andy Murray weighed in on the controversy, after receiving his own code violation for racket abuse in his straight-sets loss to Jannik Sinner in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

"Look, it was not good," he said of Zverev. "It was dangerous, reckless. I'm certainly not claiming to be an angel. I'm not perfect myself. However, when you're ripping your tennis racquet right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can't be doing that."

Zverev's first round match in Acapulco made history on Tuesday for the latest ever finish for a professional tennis match, when he finally clinched the victory over Jenson Brooksby at 4:55am local time, and was playing in doubles less than 24 hours after that overnight match.

Those late-night efforts turned out to be for nothing, as he was thrown out of the singles tournament for his shocking actions, and more formal repercussions are expected to be handed out by the ATP.

The most recent example of similar behaviour came in 2019, when Nick Kyrgios was fined $113,000 for spitting in the direction of an official at the Cincinnati Masters and breaking two rackets during an unapproved toilet break. He was later given a suspended sixteen-week ban for a pattern of "aggravated" behaviour.