One of the world’s top tennis players, Alexander Zverev, was forced to have a fan ejected from his US Open round of 16 match against Jannik Sinner on Monday night after the fan repeatedly made Hitler references to the German player.
Zverev, 26, reached the US Open final in 2020 and has been raked as high as No. 2 in the world rankings. He also won the gold medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The issue came during the fourthset of Zverev’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over the sixth-seeded Sinner.
Zverev suddenly stopped play and walked up to the chair official while pointing behind them into the stands.
“He just said the most famous Hitler phrase there is in this world,” he told the official. “This is unacceptable. This is unbelievable.”
The official then turned behind him and immediately began seeking out which fan was responsible. Those around the fan point him out before security came down to remove the man from the arena.
Zverev went on to lose the set to Sinner, 4-6. But rallied for a 6-3 victory in the final set to move him into the quarterfinals.
He’ll now face world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the next round after an injury cut short his US Open run a year ago. Alcaraz, 20, is the reigning US Open champion and is fresh off his first Wimbledon title.
“I guess I can say I’m back, right?” Zverev said after the victory. “Last year when I wasn’t able to play, this is exactly what I missed: playing until 1.30am in front of a packed crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. There’s nothing better.”
As for the fan, Zverev said he doesn’t mind it when fans get into a match, but this went a step too far.
“I think he was getting involved in the match for a long time, though. I don’t mind it. I love when fans are loud. I love when fans are emotional,” he said. “But I think me being German and not really proud of that history, it’s not really a great thing to do, and I think him sitting in one of the front rows, I think a lot of people heard it. So if I just don’t react, I think it’s bad from my side.”