Tennis officials have warned the men’s game that players will face harsher punishments for on-court misconduct after a spree of recent controversies.
An internal memo was sent on Monday by the ATP, with players also told that guidelines are being reviewed for those who consistently break the rules.
The development comes after several players stepped over the line.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev was expelled from a tournament in Acapulco in Mexico in February after smashing his racquet against an umpire’s chair, screaming the official had “f****** destroyed the whole f****** match”. Zverev was give a suspended eight-week ban for his episode and fined the maximum amount possible of $40,000 (£30,500) for verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Australian player Nick Kyrgios was fined $60,000 (£45,800) after a string of outbursts at Indian Wells and then the Miami Open.
He was fined $35,000 (£26,700) after losing in the fourth round to Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open and $25,000 (£19,100) for smashing his racquet after losing to Rafael Nadal, almost hitting a ball boy in the process.
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Effective immediately and as we head into the clay court swing, the ATP officiating team has been directed to take a stricter stance in judging violations of the code of conduct.
“Additionally, we are also undertaking a review of the code, as well as the disciplinary processes, to ensure that it provides appropriate and up-to-date penalties for serious violations and repeat offenders.”
He continued: “We all have a role to play to uphold the reputation and integrity of our sport.”
“The first three months of the season have seen an unusual frequency of high-profile incidents involving unsportsmanlike conduct.
“These incidents shine a bad light on our sport. This conduct affects everyone, and sends the wrong message to our fans, especially young fans.”