'That’s like twilight zone stuff': Legend McEnroe blasts 'crazy' Zverev meltdown at Aus Open (VIDEO)
Former World No. 1 McEnroe, whose scathing on-court outbursts spawned his "you cannot be serious" catchphrase, 'SuperBrat' nickname and a myriad parodies of his notoriously tumultuous persona, said Zverev's on-court immaturity would be perfect for a sports psychologist to pick apart.
The 21-year-old exploded into a tantrum during his humiliating straight-sets loss to Canadian Raonic at Rod Laver Arena on Monday. Trouble had been bubbling after the youngster had his every serve broken to lose the first set in just 10 minutes.
Zverev sure let out some steam during the change over. Will it help?pic.twitter.com/qNIfbNVh7J— The Field (@thefield_in) January 21, 2019
It all came to head at the end of the second set, which looked like going the exact same way as the opener. After going down 5-1, Zverev smashed his racket onto the court surface nine times during a change of ends.
Q. Do you often smash your racquet?ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You never watched my matches? You should watch my matches.— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) January 21, 2019
Despite a third set rally, the 2018 ATP Finals champion could not prevent a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 defeat to the spindly Raonic, who took 1 hour 59 minutes to dispatch the German, and will now play Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who earlier the same day reached the quarterfinal stage of a Grand Slam for the first time, in the last eight.
Zverev, who grabbed headlines at the end of last year by beating legend Roger Federer and then world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-final and final of the year-end tournament respectively, cooled down enough to calmly explain his outburst.
"It made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out," came the unapologetic response from the tournament fourth-seed after the match, and he remained icy when asked if racket abuse was a habit of his.
“Have you never watched my matches?” Zevrev snapped, news.au reported. “You should watch my matches.”
Seven-time Grand Slam winner McEnroe was just as acerbic in his assessment of the explosion. “That’s crazy. That’s like twilight zone stuff,” McEnroe, who is currently covering the tournament in a commentating capacity for local station Channel 9, said.
Darren Cahill: “This could be the worst set of tennis I’ve seen from Zverev.”John McEnroe: “I don’t know which is worse, his tennis or his attitude.” #AusOpen— Kevin Wicks (@wicksipedia) January 21, 2019
John McEnroe is about one break away from calling Sascha Zverev a journeyman.— Alex Bancila (@TheAlexBancila) January 21, 2019
Bruh. 😂😂😂 . “I thought that was a medical helicopter coming in for Zverev.” - John McEnroe.— Day 31 (@achungerford) January 21, 2019
“Just generally speaking the body language, he’s got the racket sort of drooping towards the ground. He’s not sticking his chest out at all. He gives himself a sarcastic thumbs up there. A sports psychologist would do a lot with this little clip of Zverev as far as things not to do in this environment,” he added.
However, it might not be too foolish for Zverev to keep up his 'SuperBrat' impression, as the hot-headed, head-banded antics of McEnroe made him one of the most talk-about and subsequently iconic sports stars of the early 1980s. Zevrev's compatriot Boris Becker, who became tennis' newest young star immediately after McEnroe's reign at the top, hailed him as a star of the future following his ATP win in London.