A fan was booted out of the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the early hours of Tuesday after Alexander Zverev alleged that the person said: "the most famous Hitler phrase there is." Zverev and Sinner were engaged in an intense fourth-round match in the early hours of the morning in New York.
During the match, Zverev made a complaint with the umpire, citing a comment he had heard just moments before a crucial point. "He just said the most famous Hitler phrase there is. It is unacceptable," Hamburg-born Zverev told British umpire James Keothavong after hearing a slur from the crowd.
Moment of Controversy
They were competing in the fourth set at Arthur Ashe Stadium when Zverev, who was ahead by two sets to one against his Italian opponent, brought his complaint to the attention of the chair umpire.
"It's unacceptable," Zverev, 26, told umpire James Keothavong, who promptly requested the fan in question to identify themselves.
"Who said that? Who said that? We're going to get him out," Keothavong said, before addressing the audience with an announcement, urging them to show respect to the players.
When no one came forward to admit responsibility, Keothavong addressed the entire crowd once more, emphasizing the importance of respecting the players. Soon, security personnel were dispatched to the area in an attempt to resolve the unpleasant situation.
Play resumed for a few minutes, after which cameras returned to the stands to show a middle-aged male engaged in a conversation with security, eventually being escorted out of the arena.
The precise nature of the alleged comment made by the man, and whether the man captured by ESPN cameras was indeed the fan accused of making the slur, remains unclear.
Almost Hate Crime
After his grueling five-set victory, which lasted for four hours and 41 minutes, Zverev spoke to reporters and addressed the incident with the crowd. Zverev told a reporter that the alleged fan had been singing the "anthem of Hitler," which is the banned first verse of the original German national anthem.
"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 number 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.
Also, several fans took to social media to share their outrage at the incident. "There are some fans this late at night @usopen that are not good! I ❤️ the fans but at this point there are some bad characters. I had a drink thrown on me last night by a drunk fan who was fighting with her boyfriend. Now we got someone yelling Hitler slurs! Wtf? Come on peeps," wrote one fan.
"There is just no place for xenophobia or any form of discrimination in Tennis," another fan wrote.
"Disgusting look for New York and America if that patron did actually make some sort of Hitler slur towards Zverev. #USOpen," yet another person wrote.
After the match, Chris Widmaier, a spokesperson for the US Tennis Association, confirmed that a "disparaging remark was directed toward Alexander Zverev."
Zverev will face off with defending US Open champion, Carlos Alcaraz, on Wednesday. Alcaraz's appearance in the US Open comes shortly after his historic victory at Wimbledon.