While players like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal bask in near-universal adoration, not all players are as fortunate.
There are players who, rather than earning applause, often find themselves in the crosshairs of fan frustration and, at times, the recipients of outright hatred.
I’ve been watching ATP tennis for as long as I can remember. Here are ten of whom I believe are the most hated ATP tennis players of all time.
10. Lukas Rosol
Lukas Rosol had numerous on-court outbursts and arguments with chair umpires. However, it’s mainly his unsportsmanlike behavior on the tennis court that has made fans and pro players dislike him.
Once, during a match, Andy Murray said, “No-one likes you on the tour, everyone hates you” to Rosol.
Here’s the clip:
He loved to play mind games with his opponents and did everything he could to get them off-guard. Rosol was not just on the outs with Andy Murray but also with one of the all-time greats, Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is known for his routines, especially with his water bottles. They need to be in the same place for some reason. Rosol knew that and knocked one of his bottles down to annoy Nadal.
What a jerk, right?
In another match, Rosol purposefully bumped into Nadal during a changeover, an incident that Nadal later said in a presser that it was unsportsmanlike.
Whether you’re a Nadal or Murray fan or not, it’s just too hard to like Lukas Rosol.
9. Robin Söderling
Robin Söderling, known for his powerful game and defeating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009, faced much criticism during his career for his on-court demeanor. Fans and players alike perceived him as arrogant and unsportsmanlike.
He didn’t have many friends on tour, and overall, he had a very strained relationship with most players.
If you ask Rafael Nadal which player he dislikes the most, his answer just might be Robin Söderling. And it’s not because he beat him at the French Open.
This clip may explain why Nadal hated Robin Soderling:
Apart from his beef with Nadal, he constantly got into heated arguments with the chair umpires and other people in the stadium.
8. Andy Roddick
When it comes to Andy Roddick, it feels like two distinct personas share the same name.
Off the court, Roddick is known for his likable personality and sharp wit. He’s engaging and personable, the kind of guy who can light up a room with his humor, making everyone feel at ease. This Roddick is relatable and easy to like.
However, on the court, Roddick is all business. His temper is notorious, as is his propensity for engaging in heated disputes with officials.
Here’s a video clip:
His tendency to focus energy on disputes rather than on the subtle ballet of tennis has frustrated many fans, particularly his fellow Americans.
It feels like Andy Roddick’s energy is often spent disputing rather than focusing on his game, and it’s difficult for fans to cheer for a player like that.
7. Mikael Ymer
Known in Sweden as much for his cocky persona as his tennis, Mikael Ymer is quite a controversial figure. His audacious antics on the court, like smashing a racquet on an umpire’s chair, certainly raise eyebrows, and not in a good way.
Despite his lack of success on the ATP Tour, the audacity to liken himself to titans like Zlatan Ibrahimovic furthers the perception of arrogance.
Also, his refusal to play tournaments in his home country unless he was paid a significant sum caused quite an uproar. This has not only strained his relationship with local organizers but also left a sour taste in the mouths of his once-loyal fanbase.
Consequently, he’s become something of a tennis villain at home, with many Swedes eagerly cheering for his competitors. Ask any Swedish tennis fan – nobody likes Mikael Ymer.
Here’s Mikael Ymer smashing his racquet on the Umpire’s chair.
If more people knew who Mikael Ymer was, he would have been higher on this list.
5. Novak Djokovic
Despite being one of the greatest players of all time, Novak Djokovic has faced his share of criticism and dislike from certain sections of tennis fans.
He’s broken countless racquets in rage and even scared some ball kids. And at the 2020 US open, he was disqualified after hitting a ball in anger which struck a line judge in the throat.
His off-court behavior has gained him haters as well.
Remember the Adria Tour debacle during the COVID-19 pandemic? That didn’t do him any favors. His stand against vaccines has also raised eyebrows.
Then there’s his attitude – many find it lacks the grace and humility of Federer and Nadal. All these elements combined create a cocktail of opinions that isn’t always easy to swallow.
Djokovic is one of the most loved, but also one of the most hated tennis players ever.
4. John McEnroe
John McEnroe, a legend of the game, is also infamous for his fiery temper and frequent outbursts on the court.
While his talent and contribution to tennis are unquestionable, his volatile personality often stole the limelight, attracting both fascination and ire from fans.
His fiery temper was like a double-edged sword, adding an element of drama that was as likely to enthrall fans as it was to provoke their disapproval.
Even today, the mention of McEnroe is as likely to bring up memories of his brilliant game and his blazing outbursts.
Here’s a video of him unleashing his wrath on the umpire:
4. Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev may be one of the top players on the ATP tour, but his disrespect has fans in an uproar. While some Daniil Medvedev fans find his bad-boy attitude to be cool, many others despise him for the very same reason.
He can’t handle when an opponent hits great shots, and the crowds cheer for them. He’ll take it out on a ball boy or throw a racquet. And when the crowd boos at his petulance, he’ll flip them off.
Here’s a video of just some of the behavior during the 2019 US Open:
It’s an unfortunate catch-22. His behavior draws boos, and the boos draw more bad behavior.
3. Nick Kyrgios
A common phrase among Kyrgios fans is, “You either love or hate him.” And you can tell how I feel about him because he is on my list of the most hated ATP tennis players 🙂
He’s undoubtedly one of the most entertaining players to watch, attracting many fans. But his foolish behavior on the tennis court also draws hate despite it adding an extra layer of excitement to the game.
I love and hate him equally. Kyrgios is great for the sport, and part of that is because he’s one of the most hated players on the ATP Tour.
His on-court behavior is often at the heart of this sentiment, with volatile outbursts, instances of perceived lack of effort, and a seemingly dismissive attitude towards opponents and officials, all contributing to his controversial standing.
Here he is throwing the game on purpose:
I’ve watched many matches that Kyrgios played, and I can’t recall a single one where he hasn’t argued with the umpire.
One of his worst incidents happened at the 2019 Italian Open. He quit the game mid-match after throwing a chair into the tennis court.
Here’s the video:
For years, I have wondered why Kyrgios even bothers playing professional tennis. And I do not doubt that I’m not the only one.
2. Daniel Köllerer (Koellerer)
Daniel who? Exactly. Daniel Köllerer was a hothead who hailed from Austria.
In every match, he put on at least one dramatic performance (especially if he was losing), which would irk not only his opponents but also the officials and fans. In 2006, the ATP fined and suspended Köllerer for six months for bad behavior.
In the clip below, he faked an injury by dropping to the ground when a point was over. And when no one believes him, he quits the match, walking away without any limp whatsoever.
But his poor performances were not the only thing that earned him his place on my list of the 10 most hated ATP tennis players.
In 2011, Köllerer was banned for life for match-fixing and was fined US$100,000 by the Tennis Integrity Unit. The Court of Arbitration upheld this ban for Sport in March 2012. However, the court overturned the fine as he had not benefited financially from any of the charges for which he had been found liable.
1. Alexander Zverev
The German superstar Alexander Zverev tops my list as the most hated tennis player of all time. There are so many reasons why that is, but these are the main reasons:
- Domestic abuse allegations
- Volatile behavior on the tennis court
Let’s start with the domestic abuse allegations. I don’t tolerate violence against women – or anyone. You will top my list EVERY time.
The allegations of domestic abuse against Alexander Zverev stemmed initially from his ex, Olga Sharypova.
She publicly accused Zverev of engaging in both physical and emotional abuse throughout their relationship. Sharypova detailed multiple instances of physical violence, including claims of being choked in 2019. Zverev, for his part, has firmly denied these serious allegations, and because of lack of evidence, Zverev received no punishment.
In July of this year, he faced another set of abuse charges from his baby mama, Brenda Patea. This time, the judge ruled in her favor and awarded her €450,000 ($475,000).
Volatile Behaviour (On The Court)
Alexander Zverev has shown volatility on the tennis court on numerous occasions. This includes his smashing his racquet, arguing with umpires, etc.
One of the worst incidents occurred during the 2022 Mexican Open in Acapulco. After a bad call from the umpire (according to Zverev), he smashed his racquet into the umpire’s chair. It looked like he may have hit the ump’s feet, too.
Here’s the video:
He was defaulted from the tournament and got a $40,000 fee from the ATP. He also forfeited all prize money and ranking points. He’s lucky that’s all he’s got. What a brat!
So, did we miss anyone? Do you know of a player who deserves to be on this list of most hated ATP tennis players? Comment below and tell us why, and we’ll add them!