Former men’s tennis world No. 1 Boris Becker hopes players won’t turn into emotionless ‘computers and machines’ after ATP warning that there will be tougher penalties for fouls on the ground following a series of angry outbursts.
Alexander Zverev was kicked out of a tournament in Acapulco in February after smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair during a swearing tirade, while Nick Kyrgios was fined for his outbursts in Indian Wells and in Miami last month.
Becker – who is awaiting sentencing in a London court after being found guilty of four offenses in a bankruptcy trial – has had many outbursts of anger during his career, said the sport needs players show emotion on the pitch.
“I’m pretty happy that we were allowed to play and eventually go crazy on the exclusion of social media and microphones, so to speak,” said the 54-year-old, who has won six Grand Prix singles titles. Slam, at Eurosport Germany. .
“It’s more difficult for the players today. Everything is extremely transparent, too transparent for my taste. And then the question is, how does the tennis body manage this?
“Tennis is also a sport for entertainment. I also don’t want to see computers and machines on the court. Emotions are good, a little blood, sweat and tears, it stimulates, it was already the case with us. But everything has a limit.”
The ATP said it was also revising its guidelines for cracking down on repeat offenders after being criticized for being “soft” on incidents of misconduct.
WATCH | Graphic language: Alex Zverev attacks the referee’s chair in Acapulco:
While some players called out their professional colleagues for their behavior, Becker said everyone should “look in the mirror”.
“We’re not all perfect, everyone freaks out sometimes and you don’t do that,” he added. “I also call tennis players’ teammates, so you really shouldn’t comment publicly on other people’s misconduct. I think that’s wrong.”
World number 7 Casper Ruud and seven-time major champion Mats Wilander have said reckless behavior on the pitch must stop.
“…it kind of draws attention to the sport in a negative way,” Norway’s Ruud told Eurosport as part of the ‘Ruud Talk’ series. “They get big fines, but for some of these players [it] it doesn’t seem to matter.”