Chris Evert has called the ATP punishment of Alexander Zverev "lenient" and agreed with Serena Williams about the ‘double standard’ between men and women.
Zverev shocked the tennis world during February’s Mexican Open in Acapulco when he repeatedly smashed his racquet against umpire Alessandro Germani’s chair and verbally abused the official.
The incident saw the German handed an eight-week suspended ban and fined $40,000 (£31,000) by the ATP before receiving a further suspended $25,000 (£19,000) fine following a review.
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World No. 3 Zverev is now free to compete in future events, including the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this week.
Speaking exclusively to Eurosport, 18-time Grand Slam winner Evert suggested the sanctions were far from sufficient given the nature of the offence.
“I will tell you exactly how I feel,” she said. “I think it was too lenient. I think it was too lenient.
“I am not here to sit back and make any judgments on Zverev as far as his behaviour or him as a person. From what I know and my contact with him, he's always been very nice and very gracious.
“That punishment or that consequence to me is too lenient. He should have been out for months. And that's all I'm going to say about it.”
The 24-year-old, who has since apologised both publicly and privately to Germani, has said the controversy was the "worst moment of his life" and vowed to work on his behaviour.
Zverev faced criticism for much of the tennis world including Serena Williams, who has faced harsher punishment in the past for incidents with officials.
Williams pointed out the double standard she faces and suggested she would "probably be in jail" if she lashed out like Zverev.
Evert agreed Williams would have been treated far differently.
“I wouldn't go as far as saying she would go to jail, but I think she has a point and I think that definitely her consequences would have been far stricter than Zverev’s.
“Welcome to the world of men and women. I think it is a female and male issue. I agree with Serena.
“There would have been stricter consequences if she would have done it. I think the WTA would have put stricter consequences on any woman who would have done this.
“The umpire looked like he was in harm's way. And that's serious”.
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