Alexander Zverev hits back at doubters with defiant message as he is put on probation

Tennis: Zverev reaches agreement after management dispute

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Alexander Zverev is on a mission to prove his doubters wrong after taking a reputational hit in recent weeks. The German was slammed by fans, pundits and fellow players alike for his actions at the Mexican Open last month, which led to him being kicked out of the competition.

Zverev lost his temper after a call from the chair umpire which he felt was incorrect during a doubles match.

“Look where the ball bounced. It’s 8-6 in the tie-break, look where the ball bounced. For f*** sake, it’s your line,” he shouted after the decision went against him and partner Marcelo Melo.

“It’s f****** your line. You f****** idiot,” he added, as he continued his x-rated rant.

After the match, he went on to say: “You f*****g destroyed the whole f*****g match. The whole f*****g match.”

But the really shocking moment came when he smashed his racket repeatedly into the umpire’s chair, only narrowly missing the official’s leg with one of the blows.

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He was kicked out of the singles competition for his actions, while the ATP launched an investigation into the incident.

After the probe was complete, the German was fined and given an eight-week ban, suspended for a year meaning he will have to keep his emotions in check going forward.

Zverev has a job on his hands rebuilding his reputation with some fans, as was made clear by the crowd at his recent Davis Cup match.

Playing for Germany away to Brazil, the boos were noticeable from some sections of the crowd in Rio de Janeiro.

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It certainly caught the player’s attention, as he said after the match: “When it gets towards your family members, or when it gets towards somebody that you love, this is where I draw the line of respect.

“Today that line was crossed. And [it happened] during basically every single game that we played.”

Getting the fans back on his side might be a tall order, then, but it’s certainly a challenge the German says he is up for.

The world number three told luxury magazine Haute Living: “I love to prove people wrong, and I have to prove them wrong immediately, no matter who they are or what they tell me I can’t do, on realistic terms.

“If they tell me I can’t jump from a skyscraper and survive, I’ll tell them, ‘Yeah, you’re right’. But if I can do it, I want to prove it.

“I’m very black and white – I don’t have any grey zones.

“I have been told many times in my life that I would not achieve what I’ve achieved, that I would not succeed in sport.

“Obviously, I love when I play in Germany and 20,000 fans are cheering for me and I’m the crowd favourite, but I also really appreciate when the crowd in a stadium doesn’t like me.

“I really do enjoy the moments where I’m alone against the world.”

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