EXCLUSIVE: Stop the tantrums! Tennis’ top male players are reprimanded by the ATP over their recent ‘aggressive and disrespectful behaviour’ – with Nick Kyrgios and Alex Zverev among the chief culprits
- The ATP Tour has issued a rebuke to male tennis stars over on-court behaviour
- ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has ordered a review of the code of conduct
- Gaudenzi’s move comes in light of a series of incidents on court in recent weeks
- Nick Kyrgios was fined $35,000 last week for his furious tirade at an umpire
- Alex Zverev is another culprit who has triggered Gaudenzi into ordering review
- He cited ‘aggressive and disrespectful conduct’ in a circular seen by Sportsmail
The world’s top male tennis players have received a severe rebuke and warning from the ATP Tour over the recent spate of on-court behaviour.
Andrea Gaudenzi – chairman of the body which represents players and tournaments – has ordered a complete review of the whole code of conduct in light of a series of incidents.
Citing the ‘aggressive and disrespectful conduct’ that has been witnessed in the past five weeks, he has warned players that the rules will be more strictly enforced as the circuit heads into the clay and grass court seasons.
A circular sent to players, seen by Sportsmail, outlines his dismay at behaviour that has been witnessed on the hard court events of Mexico and the United States. High profile cases have included those involving Alex Zverev, American Jenson Brooksby and Nick Kyrgios.
Nick Kyrgios is one of a string of players whose conduct has been deemed ‘aggressive’
The Australian was fined $35,000 last week in Miami for his furious tirades at umpire Carlos Bernardes during a defeat by Jannik Sinner.
‘The first three months of the season have seen an unusual frequency of high-profile incidents involving unsportsmanlike conduct,’ writes Gaudenzi. ‘This includes serious cases of verbal and racquet abuse.
‘We have seen too many dangerous moments, with officials or ball persons caught in the crossfire of aggressive or disrespectful conduct.
‘These incidents shine a bad light on our sport. This conduct affects everyone and sends the wrong message to our fans, especially young fans.
‘Effective immediately, and as we had into the clay court swing, the ATP officiating team has been directed to take a stricter stance in judging violations of the Code of Conduct. Additionally we are also undertaking a review of the Code, as well as the disciplinary processes, to ensure that it provides appropriate and up-to-date penalties for repeat offenders.’
Gaudenzi, the Italian former top 20 player, says that he understands that players are human and compete under extreme pressure but adds: ‘We all have a role to play to uphold the reputation and integrity of our sport.’
The ATP has been criticised for failing to suspend anyone, and it has been pointed out that both ballkids and umpires have been lucky to escape injury from rackets swished in anger.
The body’s former head of Rules, Richard Ings, has been among those expressing frustration. It has been widely accepted in the game that that the Code of Conduct requires an overhaul, although there is also recognition that players need to be allowed to show emotion and express themselves.