Rafael Nadal says Alexander Zverev’s punishment is “deserved” after the world number three was thrown out of the Mexican Open for attacking the umpire’s chair.
Germany’s Zverev struck the umpire’s chair several times with his racquet, leading to the sanction.
It came after he and Marcelo Melo lost 6-2 4-6 10-6 to Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in the doubles event.
The 24-year-old later apologised, calling his behaviour “unacceptable”.
Speaking after his second-round victory over Stefan Kozlov, which ensured his best start to a season, Nadal said: “I enjoy good relations with Alexander, but at the end of the day the punishment is deserved.
“One cannot behave in this manner and I believe he is conscious of that.
“Unfortunately, the image that Alexander gave yesterday, exacerbated by being posted on social media accounts which lights the torch paper, will have been seen by millions of children.
“They base their attitude on ours and we must set an example and show a minimum of respect.
“I understand the frustration, I understand that in a moment of anger one can break a racquet.
“I am not going to criticise him more than to say it displeases me because I was not brought up like that.”
The Australian Open champion extended his unbeaten run to 12 matches with a 6-0 6-3 win over American Kozlov to reach the Mexican Open quarter-finals.
Nadal’s previous best start to a season came in 2014, when he won 11 matches before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.
He will play Tommy Paul for a place in the Acapulco semi-finals following his 76-minute victory.
Nadal, 35, could then meet world number two Daniil Medvedev, who he beat in a thrilling Melbourne final in January.
Russia’s Medvedev needed just 64 minutes to beat Spain’s Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2 and keep his bid for the world number one ranking moving.
Medvedev, who faces Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka next, will replace Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings if he wins the title in Mexico.
British number one Cameron Norrie was also among the winners, beating American John Isner 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4.
World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas registered the quickest completed victory with a 47-minute 6-1 6-0 thrashing of American qualifier JJ Wolf.
Greek Tsitsipas will play American Marcos Giron next, while Norrie faces Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk.