World number three Alexander Zverev has been handed a suspended eight-week ban from ATP-sanctioned events following an investigation into his conduct at the Mexican Open last month.
In February, the Olympic champion was fined $40,000 (£31,000) and forfeited all his prize money for striking the umpire’s chair in Acapulco.
Zverev has now been found guilty of a ‘major offence’ after an ATP review.
The German 24-year-old will be banned if he commits another similar offence within 12 months of the incident.
Similar offences include unsportsmanlike behaviour and verbal or physical abuse of anyone at a tournament.
As well as the eight-week ban, Zverev has been handed a further suspended $25,000 (£19,000) fine.
The biggest penalty in men’s tennis to date was a 16-week suspended ban given to Australian Nick Kyrgios in 2019 for verbally abusing a chair umpire and smashing two racquets.
As with Nick Kyrgios, who was also deemed to have committed a major offence for an ugly pattern of behaviour in 2019, Zverev’s extra punishment is on hold.
Kyrgios’ 16-week ban was suspended for six months, but due to injury the Australian only played half a dozen tournaments in that time.
Zverev, in contrast, will expect to play about 20 events over the next 12 months.
In that long period of time, he cannot afford to be disrespectful or aggressive to any officials, players or spectators.
An ATP statement on Tuesday read: “The review determined that Zverev committed Aggravated Behaviour under the Player Major Offense section of ATP Rules. As a result, Zverev has been issued an additional fine of 25,000 US dollars and a suspension for a period of eight weeks from any ATP-sanctioned event.
“However, the fine and suspension are withheld on the condition that, over a probation period ending 22 February 2023 [one year from the incident], the player does not incur a further Code Violation.”