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Rafael Nadal asks for "stronger" penalties against player misbehaviour in tennis

Commenting on the Alexander Zverev outburst at the Mexico Open and the ATP's rather lenient actions on it, 21-time Grand Slam champ Rafa Nadal advised for stiffer penalties.

Rafael Nadal at the Indian Wells Masters 2022 Alex Zverev

Rafael Nadal at the Indian Wells Masters 2022 (Source: Peter Staples/ATP Tour)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 11 March 2022 6:09 AM GMT

On a brilliant undefeated streak this year, 21-time-Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal weighed in on the recent controversy involving Alexander Zverev at the Mexico Open 2022 where the German tennis player lashed out at the chair umpire, in the most unruly fashion.

Nadal, the only player among the Big Three, who is actively playing all the tournaments this year told reporters at Indian Wells that the tennis authorities need to impose stronger penalties on the players to reduce such unsportsmanlike outbursts and ensure that tennis is a safe space for the kids, especially.

These comments from Nadal have come in after the ATP decided to put Alexander Zverev on one-year probation, asked to pay a meagre fine by tennis standards and no immediate suspension. Zverev will continue to be on tour and will be playing at the Indian Wells Masters, as well, as none of these penalties is strict enough to keep Zverev away from the court, even for a brief span.

READ | Alexander Zverev handed 'pathetic' probation by ATP for Acapulco outburst

During the Mexico Open in Acapulco last month, Zverev had a complete meltdown and charged at the chair umpire, abusing him verbally as well.

Alexander Zverev with Rafael Nadal

"I have a good relationship with Sascha, I like him, I practise with him very often, so I wish him all the very best. And he knows that he was wrong and he recognized that very early and that's a positive thing," Nadal said to the press at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Southern California desert.

However, Nadal, who has never even smashed a racquet on the court, no matter what his emotions are, simply out of respect for the sport was frank enough to state that this kind of behaviour needs to be curbed soon to protect the sport.

"On the other hand, if we are not able to control this type of attitude on court, not just this one instance in particular, there has been other stuff going on in the last couple of months," Nadal indicated.

"If we are not able to penalize these types of attitudes in a little stronger way, then we as players will feel stronger and stronger all the time. In this sport, we have to be a positive example, especially for the kids," Nadal mentioned.

Nadal is enjoying a particularly good spell right now having just won his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open 2022 and will be playing at the Indian Wells Masters with the hope to keep his 15-0 unbeaten streak going, with more victories to look forward to.

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