With Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov, it was an accident, but Alexander Zverev lost his mind: John McEnroe

John McEnroe has weighed in on the topic of player behavior
John McEnroe has weighed in on the topic of player behavior
Ewan West

Tennis legend John McEnroe recently addressed on-court incidents involving Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov when discussing the behavior of men's players. While critical, the American insisted players behave "much better" now than in the past. He also argued it is better that they show emotion during matches.

Shapovalov and Djokovic have both been defaulted from matches for accidentally hitting on-court officials after striking the ball away in frustration. Shapovalov hit umpire Arnaud Gabas during a 2017 Davis Cup match against Kyle Edmund. Djokovic, meanwhile, struck a line judge in his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta at the 2020 US Open.

Zverev, though, was disqualified from the Mexican Open in February for his conduct during his opening-round doubles loss alongside Marcelo Melo. The World No. 3 repeatedly hit umpire Alessandro Germani's chair with his racket and verbally abused the official after disagreeing with a line call in the match tie-break.

The 24-year-old has been put on probation for a year but has not been banned from playing any tournaments.

Alexander Zverev will be allowed to keep competing on the ATP Tour. The world number 3 is now on probation for a year and will be fined and suspended for two months if a similar behavior happens.

In an interview with UOL Sport, McEnroe, who was infamous for his on-court tirades, was asked for his thoughts on the behavior of current ATP players.

"They are terrible today! It is necessary to look at each case individually," McEnroe said. "With Djokovic, it was an accident. And so it was with Shapovalov [when the Canadian hit a chair umpire in the eye]. It was stupid. You're looking for trouble if you hit the ball out of frustration like that. I did this many times. I was always trying to hit the grid at the back of the court and not a human being. You're in trouble if you do. Zverev lost his mind. I don't know what he was thinking as he slammed his racket into the referee's chair."

The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion admitted that the conduct of today's stars does not compare to that of his generation.

"In general, they behave much better (laughs)," McEnroe continued. "When I played, me, [Jimmy] Connors and [Ilie] Nastase were like the patients running the asylum! That's why they made the rules stricter. In a way, I'm happy - I'm not saying that they (current players) shouldn't be punished, especially Zverev. I don't know what he was thinking. But generally speaking, I think it's better for players that they show emotion. Honestly, we need more of this. We just need them to do it right."

Novak Djokovic can win a 21st Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open

Novak Djokovic at the 2021 French Open
Novak Djokovic at the 2021 French Open

Novak Djokovic can tie Rafael Nadal's men's record of 21 Major singles titles by winning the 2022 French Open. The World No. 1 could face his great rival for the 10th time at Roland Garros, with Nadal having won seven of their previous encounters at the event.

The 34-year-old Serb is the defending French Open champion, having beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets in last year's final. The main draw of the Grand Slam gets underway on Sunday.

These are projected Quarterfinals for Men's Singles draw at Roland Garros 🔥Look at those names in the upper half of the draw 😍#RafaelNadal #NovakDjokovic #CarlosAlcaraz #AlexanderZverev #StefanosTsitsipas #DaniilMedvedev #AndreyRublev #CasperRuud #RolandGarros #FrenchOpen

Edited by Nihal Taraporvala


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