Tennis-Becker concerned players may become ‘machines’ under beefed up misconduct sanctions

(Reuters) – Former world number one Boris Becker hopes players do not turn into emotionless “computers and machines” following the ATP’s warning of stricter punishment for on-court misconduct in the wake of a spate of angry outbursts.

Alexander Zverev was thrown out of a tournament in Acapulco in February after smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair during an expletive-laden tirade, while Nick Kyrgios was fined for his outbursts at Indian Wells and Miami last month.

Becker, who had many angry outbursts during his career, said the sport needed players to show emotion on court.

“I’m quite happy that we were allowed to play and ultimately go berserk under the exclusion of the social media and the microphones, so to speak,” the 54-year-old, who won six Grand Slam singles titles, told Eurosport Germany.

“It’s more difficult for the players today. Everything is extremely transparent, too transparent for my taste. And then the question is, how does the tennis authority deal with it?

“Tennis is also an entertainment sport. I don’t want to see computers and machines on the court either. Emotions are good, a bit of blood, sweat and tears, that stimulates, that was already the case with us. But everything has a limit.”

The ATP said it was also reviewing its guidelines to clamp down on repeat offenders after coming under fire for being “soft” on incidents of misconduct.

While some players have called out their fellow professionals over their behaviour Becker said everyone has to “look in the mirror”.

“We’re all not perfect, everyone freaks out sometimes and you just don’t do that,” he added. “I also call the tennis players team mates, so you really shouldn’t comment publicly on other people’s misconduct. I think it’s wrong.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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