A fan was ejected from Arthur Ashe Stadium in the early hours of Tuesday morning after Alexander Zverev claimed the individual had uttered “the most famous Hitler phrase there is.”
While the German tennis star emerged victorious by defeating Jannik Sinner in five sets, earning himself a spot in the quarter-final, the match was marred by controversy.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the fourth set, Zverev reached a breaking point and approached the chair umpire, James Keothavong, to express his dismay over the fan’s offensive comment.
“It’s unacceptable,” Zverev, aged 26, told Keothavong, who promptly requested the fan responsible to identify themselves.
“Who said that? Who said that? We’re going to get him out,” Keothavong declared before addressing the crowd and urging them to show respect for the players.
Following Zverev’s report to the chair umpire, a team of security personnel descended into the stands to search for the fan. This search operation continued for several minutes.
Play resumed shortly after the incident, but within minutes, cameras turned toward the stands where a middle-aged man was seen conversing with security personnel.
He was subsequently escorted out of the stadium, with the crowd expressing a mix of cheers and boos as he made his way up the steps towards the concourse.
After his hard-fought five-set victory, which lasted four hours and 41 minutes, the athlete addressed the crowd to discuss the incident.
“He started singing the anthem of Hitler that was back in the day,” he said. “It was ‘Deutschland über alles’ and it was a bit too much.”
“I think he was getting involved in the match for a long time, though,” the world No. 12 continued. “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.”
“It’s his loss, to be honest, to not witness the final two sets of that match,” he added.
This incident is part of an alarming pattern of fan behavior at Flushing Meadows.
Grand Slam champion and ESPN analyst Rennae Stubbs also disclosed that she was struck by a drink during the same match when a “drunk” woman was involved in a dispute with her boyfriend.
After the match, Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the US Tennis Association, confirmed that a “disparaging remark was directed toward Alexander Zverev.”
Zverev is set to compete against the defending US Open champion, Carlos Alcaraz, on Wednesday.
Alcaraz’s presence at the US Open comes shortly after his historic victory at Wimbledon.