A chair-slamming meltdown at the Mexican Open will cost Alexander Zverev money and a shot at defending his men's singles title. The ATP fined Zverev $40,000 on Thursday, two days after he berated an umpire. Zverev will also lose his full prize money of $31,570 and all ranking points he earned in Acapulco.
On Wednesday, the Mexican Open ejected Zverev -- the world's third-ranked tennis player -- after a fiery outburst he directed toward umpire Alessandro Germani during a doubles match the day prior. Zverev called Germani a "f---ing idiot" during play then smacked the umpire's chair with his racket multiple times after the match.
The drama began when Zverev disagreed with a line call Germani made the point before he and partner Marcelo Melo lost to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliövaara in a first-round doubles match. Germani gave Zverev a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after the 24-year-old yelled "for f---s sake, look where the ball bounced" in his direction.
Zverev's anger only grew following his 2-6, 6-4, 6-10 loss. After the post-match handshake, Zverev walked directly to Germani's chair and slammed his racket against it three times before sitting down himself. Germani moved to avoid contact, and Zverev still nearly struck his foot.
That wasn't the end of Zverev's rant, however, as the German stood up to yell at the umpire and slam his chair one last time.
Two hours after the match, the ATP announced it withdrew Zverev from the tournament for unsportsmanlike conduct. Zverev was eventually fined $20,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct and verbal abuse.
With Zverev gone, his second-round opponent, Peter Gojowczyk, automatically advanced to the quarterfinals.
"It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behavior during and after the doubles match yesterday," Zverev said in a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday. "I have privately apologized 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 apologize 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."
While the ATP is set to undergo "a further review of the incident," Zverev is still awaiting the findings of another ATP investigation. The ATP is investigating claims of domestic abuse made by Olya Sharypova, Zverev's ex-girlfriend. In an October statement, Zverev said he "categorically and unequivocally" denied Sharypova's allegations.