On Monday, an unexpected incident occurred during the fourth set of a U.S. Open match between Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner. A spectator could be heard shouting a pro-Hitler line, which Zverev, a German, recognized as a notorious phrase associated with the Nazi regime. Disturbed, Zverev immediately confronted chair umpire, James Keothavong, emphasizing that such behavior was unacceptable.
Zverev could be heard telling the umpire, ‘He just said the most famous Hitler phrase there is in this world. It’s not acceptable.’ Keothavong responded, “Who said that? Who said that? We’re going to get him out.”
Moments later, cameras caught a middle-aged man being addressed by the security and he was eventually removed from his seat.
Security was looking for a fan who yelled during the Jannik Sinner & Alexander Zverev match.
Zverev said he yelled "the most famous Hitler phrase.”
Security looked for the person for at least 10 minutes.
They escorted a fan out & the crowd cheered as they left. pic.twitter.com/QDClUPqPwu
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 5, 2023
Zverev, after winning the match which spanned nearly five hours, took a moment post-game to address the incident. The phrase in question has historical significance; it’s from the original German national anthem introduced in 1921 and later became emblematic of the Nazi movement.
“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. 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,”