Vasek Pospisil apologises for rant en route to Miami exit

American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Pospisil

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 24: Vasek Pospisil of Canada returns a shot to Mackenzie McDonald during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on March 24, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.   Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP
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Vasek Pospisil's anger boiled over in a foul-mouthed rant referencing ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi Wednesday as the Canadian went down in three sets in the first round of the Miami Open.

American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Pospisil, who swatted a ball out of court, smashed a racquet and incurred a verbal abuse point penalty on set point of the opening set - a display that had him later offering an apology on Twitter.

Asked during a changeover by umpire Arnaud Gabas what the problem was, 67th-ranked Pospisil unleashed a tirade focused on Gaudenzi.

"For an hour-and-a-half yesterday, chair of the ATP ... screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players," Pospisil said.

"For an hour-and-a-half. The leader of the ATP. Get him out here. Why am I supporting this?"

Pospisil was a key figure along with world No 1 Novak Djokovic in launching the Professional Tennis Players' Association (PTPA) last year, a body they said they hope will give players a greater voice in the sport.

The idea has divided opinion, with such stars as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal saying they don't think the time is right for such a move.

"I want to sincerely apologise for my behavior on the court in Miami earlier today," Pospisil later tweeted. "I disrespected the game I love and for that I am truly sorry. By way of explanation, I felt deeply unnerved during a meeting between players and ATP executives last night, and I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today.

"Again, I am sorry for my on-court behavior and the language I used."

Pospisil pulled himself together to win the second set, but McDonald, ranked 120th in the world, bounced back to seal the match and set up a second-round meeting with 18th-seeded American John Isner.

Isner is another player who has called for an economic overhaul in the sport, branding the ATP a "broken system" in February after it was revealed the pandemic-hit Miami Open - an elite Masters 1000 event for the ATP - had cut prize money for singles winners from $1.35 million in 2019 to just over $300,000 this year.