Chris Evert has expressed concern about players ‘losing control’ after a string of recent controversial on-court outbursts.
World no. 3 Alexander Zverev was handed a suspended ban and fined $40,000 (£30,500) after attacking the umpire’s chair with his racquet in Acapulco while Nick Kyrgios received several fines for his behaviour at Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
Following criticism from some quarters that these punishments were too ‘lenient’, the ATP announced that stricter sanctions would be handed down for bad behaviour in future.
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Speaking exclusively to Eurosport, 18-time Grand Slam winner Evert suggested the emotional toll on players could be a factor and stressed the need for more discussion around the mental aspect of tennis
“I don't know any other sport where the athlete abuses the official as much as tennis,” she said. “I worry about the behaviour of players and I even worry about breaking down emotionally on the court and walking off in the middle of a match and I worry about the emotional and mental relapses or breakdowns that these players are having.
“I worry about the players. I'm not making any judgments on the players, but it's an area of concern: why are players losing control and breaking racquets and putting others in harm's way?
“Why are they breaking down on the court emotionally? It's something that needs to be addressed. It's something that needs to be talked about. Tennis is a sport and it's not life. I mean even since I've had some health issues, I realize it's a sport. It should be viewed with a different perspective.”
Earlier this year, Australian Kyrgios admitted to ‘having dark thoughts’ at points in his career due to the mental and physical strain of the game.
Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka shocked the world in 2021 when she pulled out of the French Open and opened up about her battle with depression.
Evert is sympathetic to the plight of the modern-day player, and called for greater understanding of the difficulties they face psychologically.
“I noticed that now a lot of the women tennis players have sports psychologists. And have therapists and that's a growing occurrence and I think it's great because they're addressing their issues and it's not easy. It's not easy living the life of a top player.

Watch the shocking moment Zverev attacks umpire’s chair with racquet

“There are a lot of pressures that people have no idea that you face. Your identity starts to melt in with winning or losing. You're either a winner that day or you're a loser that day to the whole world.
“And that has consequences on you emotionally and mentally. We as players and former players understand that better than the public understands that.
“So there's something emotional going on in the tennis world that needs to be addressed.”
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