Alexander Zverev pummels racket in Australian Open meltdown
Alexander Zverev lost his fourth-round match at the Australian Open as well as his cool, pummeling his racket in an incredible meltdown Monday.
Trailing Milos Raonic by a set and 4-1, the fourth-ranked German took out his frustration while at his chair by slamming his racket to the court eight times before casting it aside.
Carlos Ramos — who officiated last year’s contentious women’s final at the US Open between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka — had no choice but to give the 21-year-old a warning for racket abuse.
Zverev had made the best possible start by breaking the potent Raonic serve in the first game — only to set the tone for the rest of the match by losing serve in the next game.
Zverev was guilty of 10 double faults and won a mere 35% of his second-serve points.
The racket destruction was reminiscent of Marcos Baghdatis’ epic takedown of four rackets at a change of ends in Melbourne in 2012 when he faced Stan Wawrinka. One video of that incident on YouTube has been viewed more than 2.6 million times.
Hits of Zverev’s temper tantrum are sure to pile up, too.
Queried about it afterward, Zverev, a 6-1 6-1 7-6 (7-5) loser to the 2016 Wimbledon finalist in a mild upset, told reporters: “It made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out.”
When asked in a follow-up if he often smashes his racket, the Hamburg native replied: “You never watched my matches? You should watch my matches.”
Struggling in slams
Zverev has broken rackets in the past — and at the grand slams continues to struggle to match his impressive ATP results. He’s only made one major quarterfinal, and in 2018 had to save a match point to beat his first top-50 player at a major.
In exiting to Raonic, he has yet to get the better of a top-20 player at a major despite winning the World Tour Finals in November, defeating the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to do so.
He said he felt a shorter off-season, because of his success in London, played a part in Monday’s result at Rod Laver Arena.
“Right now I’m not happy, but I’m not depressed, either,” said Zverev.
“It’s fine. It’s a tennis match. I have learned to take tennis matches as tennis matches and not the end of the world. If I would think it’s the end of the world every time I lose a tennis match, I would be very depressed about 15 to 20 times a year.
“So I’m not going to do that.”
The outing came a day after his fellow ‘Next Gen’ star, Stefanos Tsitsipas, stunned two-time defending champion Federer.