Tennis legend John McEnroe thinks sports officials are wrong to tighten his on-court misconduct rules

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  • The ATP introduces tougher penalties for fouls on the pitch.
  • John McEnroe does not support the organization’s decision, saying the players must “speak up”.

Tennis Legend John McEnroe won’t be pleading for the sport’s officials to tighten his on-field misconduct rules, instead insisting that players “should have a voice”.

Earlier this month, ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi sent a letter to players saying that, effectively immediately, the organization was introducing tougher penalties for those who breach the tour’s code of conduct.

Gaudenzi also said the ATP would review its code to “ensure it provides appropriate and up-to-date penalties for serious violations and repeat offenders.”

The Italian chief’s note came after a series of high-profile outbursts from players on the pitch.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev was expelled from the Mexican Open in February and handed an eight-week ban after attacking a referee’s chair with his racket.

In March, Australia Nick Kyrgios was later collectively fined $60,000 for breaking his racquet in two separate tournaments – first at Indian Wells and then at the Miami Open.

Speaking to Insider, McEnroe said that despite the recent string of misbehavior and concerns from other former players, there is no need for drastic action from the Tour.

“You’re asking the wrong person if you’re going to ask me to say we should tighten the rules,” said the seven-time Grand Slam winner.

“You don’t want to see the players miserable. You want to see them enjoying what they’re doing, and that’s part of the joy of being a fan.

“Zverev went over the line and almost hit a guy with a racquet, it’s a different thing than throwing your racquet. For me, you can throw your racquet, and if you get fined, that’s is your business. It’s a frustrating game.”

McEnroe in 1981.Getty/Hilaria McCarthy

Once dubbed “Superbrat” by the media, McEnroe has had a penchant for on-court outbursts throughout his career, often smashing racquets and arguing with umpires and opponents. His most famous tirade came at Wimbledon in 1981, when he shouted, “You can’t be serious!” to a referee while contesting a line call.

The phrase has since become the most famous in tennis history and has been widely referenced in pop culture.

Asked by Insider if he had any advice for current or up-and-coming players when it comes to controlling their emotions on the pitch, McEnroe deflected, saying it’s “one of the hardest things” to accomplish. for any player.

“It’s definitely an ongoing problem,” he said. “It’s been there for a long time, but it’s never going to go away, especially with the amount of money that’s at stake now, overall sports. It’s a huge problem.”

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