A fan was ejected from a US Open match early Tuesday after German player Alexander Zverev stated the fan was using language from the Adolf Hitler regime. The incident occurred when the 12th-seeded Zverev was serving in the fifth game of the fourth set against No. 6 Jannik Sinner.
Zverev made his way over to chair umpire James Keothavong to alert him of the fan’s behavior and even pointed him out.
“He just said the most famous Hitler phrase there is in this world,” Zverev told Keothavong. “It’s not acceptable.”
Keothavong petitioned for the fan to identify himself then added that fans needed to be respectful of the players on the court. Shortly after the exchange, other spectators pointed out the fan, and the fan was ejected by security.
“A disparaging remark was directed toward Alexander Zverev,” U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said, per the Associated Press. “The fan was identified and escorted from the stadium.”
Zverev stated that he has been heckled before with derogatory comments, but Hitler’s rhetoric has never been mentioned.
“He started singing the anthem of Hitler that was back in the day. It was ‘Deutschland über alles’ and it was a bit too much,” Zverev said.
“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. 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.”
Zverev did lose the fourth set to Sinner, but bounced back to win the decisive fifth set in a match that lasted four hours and 41 minutes. The German tennis star earned the win and will now face defending US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.