NOVAK DJOKOVIC has opened up on Alexander Zverev after the German was booted out of the Mexico Open.
Novak Djokovic has admitted he understands the decision to kick Alexander Zverev out of the Mexico Open. The German was booted out of the tournament after repeatedly hitting the umpire’s chair with his racket, while also labelling the match official a ‘f****** idiot’. And Djokovic has now had his say on the debacle.
Zverev and partner Michael Melo were pitted against Brit Lloyd Glasspool and Finnish star Harri Haliovaara in the opening round.
The German and Melo were the overwhelming favourites to win the contest but lost the opening set 6-2.
They then won the second set 6-4 but lost the third 10-6, sparking anger from Zverev in the process.
The 24-year-old lost his cool, hitting the umpire’s chair twice with his racket before kicking the chair.
It was then confirmed he’d been disqualified from the singles draw, with a statement saying: “Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco.”
Zverev was also foul-mouthed during the exchange, accusing the umpire of destroying the match.
And Djokovic has now delivered his verdict on the incident after the Serb overcame Karen Khachanov in their round of 16 Dubai Open fixture.
“I made mistakes in the past where I’ve had tantrums on the court,” he said.
“I understand what the player is going through.
“But, of course, I do not justify his actions. He has, with the words that he had in the statement, handled it in a right way.
“He said he made a mistake and his actions were not appropriate.
“I think the disqualification decision was, you know, not too harsh.
“I think it was correct under the circumstances.
“Of course, it is harsh for a player to get qualified from a tournament. A year and a half ago I had something I can’t say similar, but I was disqualified from a Grand Slam with unintentionally hitting the line umpire.
“I realise it is a mistake and I have to take it.
“Hopefully he can prefect on that and not let something like that happen ever again in his life.
“I’m sure he’s going to approach it maturely.”
Zverev apologised for his strop, saying today: “It is difficult to put into words how much I regret my behaviour during and after the doubles match yesterday.
“I have privately apologised to the chair umpire because my outburst towards him was wrong and unacceptable, and I am only disappointed in myself.
“It should not have happened and there is no excuse.
“I would also like to apologise 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’m 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.”
Djokovic, meanwhile, has insisted tennis is his ‘life’ after overcoming Khachanov.
“Of course there were [nerves]. I mean it’s part of professional sport, obviously feeling tired, motivated but at the same time also stressed, especially in the moments where you’re facing a break point,” he said.
“I thought the atmosphere tonight on the court, on the stadium was terrific. Thank you so much.
“Well I missed it obviously. This is my life, you know.
“This is what I’ve known to do and I still keep on doing for the last 20 years almost. Professional tennis.
“I love first of all, I enjoy travelling, I enjoy playing, I enjoy hopefully bringing some positive emotions and memories to people that come to watch. Thank you.”