Murray misses milestone and then joins debate on 'reckless' Zverev
Andy Murray described Alexander Zverev's racquet-smashing spree that got the German kicked out of the ATP tournament in Acapulco late on Tuesday as "dangerous" and "reckless".
Zverev went on a tirade against the umpire over a disputed call during his doubles opener alongside Marcelo Melo, verbally abusing the official and repeatedly hitting the umpire's chair with his racquet at the end of the match.
The ATP tour announced that Zverev had been "withdrawn" from the tournament "due to unsportsmanlike conduct" and the world No.3 will not be able to defend his singles title in Acapulco.
"Look, it was not good. It was dangerous, reckless," former world No.1 Murray told reporters in Dubai following his 7-5, 6-2 defeat to Jannik Sinner.
"I obviously understand lots of players, athletes across lots of sports, can get very frustrated. Certainly me, myself, I've not always acted in the way I would want on the tennis court. I'm certainly not claiming to be an angel. I'm not perfect myself," added the Scot, who received a code violation for racquet abuse during his second round against Sinner on Wednesday.
"However, when you're ripping your tennis racquet right next to the umpire multiple times, yeah, you can't be doing that."
Murray also added that Zverev's actions could have hurt others on court, including his opponents, the doubles pair Lloyd Glasspool of Britain and Harri Heliovaara of Finland.
"I know obviously one of the British guys who was playing, as well, a bit dangerous. It's graphite flying off the racquet, as well. Yeah, was not good," said Murray, who failed to reach a milestone in his match.
In toasty conditions in Dubai, Sinner stopped Murray from joining the 700 match-wins club.
The Italian No.4 seed advanced to the quarter-finals in the Emirates for a second consecutive year.
- 'Special feeling' -
Sinner had to save three match points in his opening win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on but had a far simpler route to victory on Wednesday, facing no break points against Murray in their one-hour 43-minute second round.
Murray revealed some of his personal targets earlier this year, one of which is to hit the 700 mark.
Only three active players have won more than 700 tour-level matches and the Scot was hoping to become the fourth with victory over Sinner in Dubai.
Murray had beaten Sinner in their sole previous meeting, in Stockholm last season, but was no match for the world No.10 this time around.
A break in game 11 gave Sinner the advantage he needed and he soon wrapped up a 57-minute opening set by striking his 16th winner of the contest. The 20-year-old started the second set with a break, and he wore down a frustrated Murray in a 10-minute fifth game en route to a 5-1 lead.
Sinner served out the win comfortably to set up a last-eight showdown with No.5 seed Hubert Hurkacz and improve his 2022 record to an impressive 9-1.
"It's a great start to the season, I'm just trying to play consistent, and now let's see how the tournament goes," said Sinner.
"It's a very special feeling always (facing Murray), he's a legend, winning three Grand Slams, many, many tournaments, he had so many unfortunate moments, many surgeries; his fighting spirit is incredible and obviously I wish him the best of luck."