A tennis fan was kicked out of the stadium during the US Open on Monday after shouting a phrase from a Nazi-era rallying cry from the pavilion.
The drama unfolded during the fourth set between Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Italy’s Jannik Sinner at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
12th seed Zverev told reporters he was getting ready to serve when he heard the first phrase of the Nazi song “Deutschland über alles” from the crowd.
He pointed it out to the referee, James Keothavong, and objected to the call.
“He used the most famous Hitler phrase in this world,” Zverev told the referee. “This is unacceptable.”
Keothavong turned to the crowd in the pavilion and asked for the spectator who uttered the phrase to raise his hand. A man with a blue baseball cap raised his hand and security guards escorted him out of the stadium.
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According to Zverev, he heard the man shouting throughout the match, but that didn’t bother him.
“I like it when fans get loud and emotional. But as far as I’m concerned, as a German who’s not really proud of that part of history, it’s not really a good thing (to sing the Nazi song) to do,” Zverev said.
“He was still sitting in one of the front rows and a lot of people heard him. I don’t think it would have been good if I hadn’t responded.”
According to Zverev, the spectator who shouted the words could not have been “very smart” with his actions.
“And on top of that, he couldn’t watch the last two sets of the match.”
However, Zverev didn’t let the drama of the court disrupt his game. He still kicked dust in Sinner’s eyes and won in a marathon battle with 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6 and 6-3.
The crowds at the US Open late night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium are known to get very loud at times.
The former Australian tennis coach, TV commentator and ex-player Rennae Stubbs said shortly after the incident on Monday that there were fans at the evening matches who “didn’t behave well”.
“I love the crowd, but sometimes the behavior in the pavilions is not good,” Stubbs wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
“One of the fans threw a drink over me. She was fighting with her boyfriend. The icing on the cake was when someone shouted the Hitler phrase. What’s up guys?”
Germany’s Laura Siegemund also complained that the crowd was disrespectful after she won the first round against Coco Gauff last week.
“They had no respect for me or the way I play. No respect for the player that I am. No respect for good tennis,” said Siegemund in tears.