Fourth seed Alexander Zverev bowed out of the Australian Open in straight sets against Milos Raonic on Monday. But more than the quality of play, it is the German’s outburst where he smashed his racquet into oblivion and scared a ball kid in the process, that took the limelight. The young German couldn’t join fellow under-21 year olds Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinal after being swept aside by the Canadian 6-1, 6-1, 7-6.
“Yeah, it made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out,” he told reporters about his outburst in the second set. And the volatile German was surprised when asked if he had done it before. “You never watched my matches? You should watch my matches,” he smiled.
With Zverev smashing his racquet eight times into the ground, startling a ball kid at the change over, his angry reaction and the eventual shattering of the gear is not the first of its kind at Australian Open. Not so surprisingly, Zverev was given a warning for racquet abuse by chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) 21 January 2019
In 2012, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis took one racquet after another to beat four into a pulp before calmly handing it over to the ball kid to throw it away in the bin. The smashing of racquets earned him a $1250 fine in the second round defeat against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Zverev has time and again been tipped as a future Grand Slam champion and showed his brilliant self in 2018 that saw him win the ATP Tour Finals, beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the process.
At Melbourne Park, his woes in grand slams continued as he failed to make the last-eight of a major for the 14th time in 15 majors.
The world number four Zverev broke former world number three Raonic’s big serve at the start of the match but then imploded to lose nine straight games in an error-strewn disaster. “I mean, I played bad. The first two sets especially I played horrible,” admitted Zverev, who committed eight double faults and 16 unforced errors against eight winners in the 63-minute duration of the first two sets.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s just tough to name one thing (I did well). I didn’t serve well, didn’t play well from the baseline. Against a quality player like him, it’s tough to come back from that.”
Zverev tried to stage a comeback in the third set after taking a timeout to cool himself off but to not avail in the end. “I obviously tried to come back and obviously in the third set I started to play a little bit better, but, you know, it was a little bit too late already.” But the 21-year-old, widely regarded as the flag-bearer for the next generation, said he would not let another early Slam exit get him down.
“Now I’m not happy, but I’m not depressed, either. 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,” he said.
“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.”