“One of the biggest thefts in tennis”

Uncivilized, aggressive, violent. In recent weeks the bad boys of tennis have been unleashed in episodes that we never wanted to see and that have nothing to do with the true spirit of sport, and tennis in particular. White gestures, in the most philosophical sense of the term, alas, are increasingly distant. Zverev, Kyrgios, Brooksby… Now it’s really too much e so the ATP has decided to give a “crackdown” on the penalties provided for in the event of unsportsmanlike conduct. Also because, the bad examples of senior tennis players unfortunately seem to have a decidedly harmful influence on juniors.

On Monday, in fact, at the end of a meeting of a ITF tournament in Ghana, at the moment of the handshake, the defeated player, the 15-year-old Frenchman Michael Kouame slapped his opponent, the Ghanaian Raphael Nii Ankra. The gesture immediately triggered a real one brawl on the sidelines, in which various people were involved. In short, even the slaps are becoming more and more topical. But what examples are passed on to kids though even during the Oscars ceremony, actor Will Smith (later awarded for playing the Williams father in “King Richard”), yields to violence and slaps the worldview presenter? In short, from bad to worse.

In recent times, unfortunately, we are witnessing an intolerable escalation of violence and aggression on the pitch and often, the penalties seem not sufficiently adequate to the seriousness of the acts. We all remember the regrettable reaction of Alexander Zverev in Acapulco that, after losing a doubles match, he repeatedly and violently hit the referee’s chair with his racket. Sasha then sprinkled his head with ashes but the evil was now done. Result: a $ 23,000 fine and an eight-month suspension, which becomes effective only if the player returns to it within the year of the incident. In short, he was granted a probationary period. Decision deemed too soft given Sasha’s violent reaction.

Then Nick Kyrgios. The Australian recently declared that he had found peace with himself after a long period of depression and, on a daily basis, on his social networks he shows himself mushy with his new flame. However, when things go wrong on the pitch, goodbye inhibitions. TO Indian Wells, in the match against Nadal, insulted the spectators and violently threw the racket, who nearly hit a ball boy. And then a Miami, in the match against Sinner, addresses shameful insults to the referee Bernardes. For the various incidents, he was fined a total of $ 60,000.

In the end the unacceptable escalation of Jenson Brooksby. The American, in Miami, in the match against Federico Coria, in frustration and completely out of control, repeatedly throws the racket, to the point that, at the umpteenth throw, the tool even hits the ball boy. In this case the immediate disqualification from the field did not happen (remember the case of Novak Djokovic at the US Open 2020 instead?). But, as Vanni Gibertini pointed out in a recent article, slam tournaments are not managed by the ATP and their regulation is therefore different.

However, here the ATP sees itself in a certain sense forced to give more decisive answers to try to contain the excesses of the players. How reports the agency Reutersthe CEO Andrea Gaudenzi issued an internal circular according to which “for the upcoming clay season, the ATP team has decided to impose stricter rules for Code of Conduct violations and to carry out a policy review to ensure appropriate penalties for the most serious violations and repeated offenses. We all have a role to play in the defense and integrity of our sport. The first three months of the season saw an unusual frequency of accidents and unsportsmanlike behavior, these episodes cast a shadow on our sport. Such conduct hurts everyone and conveys the wrong message to fans, especially younger ones“. An important and necessary message, that of Gaudenzi.

With the hope of no longer having to attend scenes like those in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami, let’s console ourselves by thinking about tennis players which instead continue to illuminate tennis, and not just for how well they know how to handle a racket. And to those young people who know how to learn from the most virtuous champions. Carlos Alcarazto quote the teenager of the moment (but of course there are many others), new star of the field and of the fair play. Because Carlito, despite his 18 years, has not only set records by winning in Miami, but he also triumphed for sportsmanship, thanks to the beautiful gesture of which he became the protagonist in the semifinal match against Hurkaczduring which made the opponent replay the point even though the referee had already awarded it to him. And then for the words addressed to Ruud during the award ceremony, for the tribute to his father who recently passed away from coach Ferrero … Gestures that show that among young people there are also those who know how to treasure the examples of the brilliant Nadal, Wilander, Federer, Edberg … And that, despite everything, the true principles of tennis still exist.

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