Monte Carlo Masters: “Alexander Zverev should not be on the court today” – says legend Justin Henin - UBITENNIS
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Monte Carlo Masters: “Alexander Zverev should not be on the court today” – says legend Justin Henin

Alexander Zverev’s presence at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters has caused controversy with some after the German made the last four.

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Alexander Zverev (@tennisloverco - Twitter)

Germany’s Alexander Zverev finds himself in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, but should he have even been allowed to compete?

Prior to this the current world number four enjoyed a bye from the round of 64 as a top 8 seed and began his campaign in the last 32 stage.

Here he beat Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-1, 7-5 before overcoming Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta 6-2, 7-5 to make the last eight.

In his most recent match, Zverev managed to beat talented Italian Jannik Sinner 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) with only a couple of points separating the two.

The ninth seed may even see himself unfortunate not to have won given how well he played.

Next up is defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

On the other side of the draw, surprise package Alejandro Davidovich Fokina takes on a resurgent Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final on Easter Sunday.

But there are two incidents that the ATP Tour officials will be concerned about that the Hamburg native is associated with.

The first is a domestic abuse case against ex-partner Olga Sharypova dating back to September 2020.

This appears to have been forgotten about, rather than charges and a ban being given, pending a full investigation.

Although the account given to journalist Ben Rothenberg describes vividly the experiences of Sharypova, therefore in most sports such behaviour would not be tolerated.

This has cast a dark shadow over the sport of tennis if a player who is in the top ten, multiple Masters 1000 winner is allowed to get away with alleged domestic abuse of women.

In a broken world, tennis authorities should not be manipulated or intimidated to give stringent long-term bans, which unfortunately in this case has not been applied.

The second area of concern is the verbal abuse and racquet smashing incident in Acapulco six weeks ago.

Many within and outside the sport were shocked when the German was given a suspended ban based on a year of good behaviour, with an 8-week penalty only being applied hypothetically in the future.

This has meant Zverev has been allowed to compete at premier events such as Indian Wells, Miami and now Monte Carlo, which humiliates the ATP entirely, considering the severity of the incident that sent a wave of shocking footage all over the world.

In fact, umpire Alessandro Germani, after being branded a “f****** idiot”, there is no way he would agree with the 24-year-old being let off the hook with a mere fine, which is peanuts for a professional athlete.

Germani was also fortunate to come away unscathed after nearly being seriously injured, with the racquet millimetres away from his leg.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray described the incident as ‘dangerous and reckless”, which would indicate the current punishment, that allows the German to compete is disproportionate to the severity of the incident, and should therefore be re-examined.

On the face of it, it seems that Zverev has used his power and status to manipulate an outcome that enormously favours him, meaning justice has not been served.

So much so that legendary women’s player Justin Henin, winner of seven Grand Slams, was left furious that Zverev has still been allowed to compete without an immediate ban.

The Belgian told Eurosport Tennis Club: “We have to take action. Concrete action should be taken so that these extremes stop.

“You can’t yell at an umpire. Even if there is no intention, it is a problem to break a racquet that flies as far as a ball boy,” she said.

“You can be tired… but we can’t see the images of Alexander Zverev again.

“These are behaviours of intimidation, of rage, which we cannot see and which we must punish much more severely.

“He should not be on the court today, Alexander Zverev.”

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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