Berlin – Former world-class tennis player Andy Roddick makes fun of it. The American took the fact that tennis professionals have embroidered quite recently, as an opportunity to shoot a short guide. The 39-year-old mischievously explains in a video how to throw a bat and hit a ball without getting into trouble. His little lesson has a dubious background. Eruptions become a constant theme.
The tennis stars as role models? This often does not apply to behavior at the moment. When it comes to victories, world rankings and prize money, some tantrums get out of control. In frustration, professionals even threatened referees and ball children. After the Olympic champion Alexander Zverev’s attack on the judge’s chair in Acapulco, the next events did not wait. The man from Hamburg is in the face of his exclusion on probation, despite early defeats in Indian Wells and Miami having to behave properly if he does not want to risk the forced break. Competitors, however, do not do the sport’s image any good, even at the Masters tournaments in the United States.
Nick Kyrgios receives a point and game penalty
In the quarterfinals in Miami, Nick Kyrgios got annoyed with referee Carlos Bernardes’ radio and raged so violently that he got a point penalty and then a game penalty when he lost to Italian Jannik Sinner. Even at a distance in the social networks, the Australian followed up against the acclaimed judge. The 26-year-old complained that the Brazilian was not good enough for important matches: “Get new people.”
Smashed rackets and quarrels against referees are nothing new on the tennis scene. Decades ago, American John McEnroe took on the role of a villain. His legendary saying: “You can not be serious”. In 2020, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic caused a scandal at the US Open when he accidentally hit a line judge with a shot ball and was disqualified.
At the moment, however, it is remarkably often discussed whether and how tennis professionals cross boundaries and how mildly they let go. Judges get a lot. At the Australian Open, for example, Russian US Open winner Daniil Medvedev asked the judge if he was stupid and called him a “little cat”. Canadian Denis Shapovalov accused the judge of being corrupt.
Zverev, who had previously attracted attention with smashed rackets, allowed himself to freak out in Acapulco, which he himself later described as “unacceptable.” After losing an insignificant double play, he repeatedly hit the referee’s chair with his racket, with the referee still sitting and almost hitting his foot. The consequences? The hamburger was disqualified for the individual. The professional organization ATP gave the top player, who can be a galleon figure in the sport, a fine and an eight-week quarantine only on conditional. Too little, some think.
The longtime number one for women, Serena Williams, sensed a double standard. Former world number one Mats Wilander said on Eurosport: “You sanction someone who behaves like that with a three- or six-month quarantine. In such a case, he must not play the most important tournaments on the calendar.” Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal was also in favor of tougher penalties because it protects the sport and the referees.
Jenson Brooksby meets a ball boy
It’s years since Kyrgios was ruled out for eight weeks. The ban was reduced to three weeks when he said yes to sports psychological treatment. He is known for his controversial behavior. In Indian Wells, he threw his racket so hard on the ground that it flew across the field in a high arc. A ball boy appeared. For fear of being hit. Kyrgios denied any intention. In Miami, American professional Jenson Brooksby threw his racket backwards, the ball boy had to jump to the side and was more easily hit. Was he disqualified? no He got a point penalty and won.
It was also these cases that led to Roddick’s little instructional film. One shoots a ball high in the air so as not to put anyone in serious danger, he suggests. Throw the racket flat on the ground with the front side down to hold it in place. Nor would it be ideal.