Number 7 in men’s tennis Alexander Zverev has been accused of domestic violence by former girlfriend Olga Sharypova.
Trigger warning: domestic violence
23-year-old German professional tennis player Alexander Zverev has recently been accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend and childhood friend, Olga Sharypova. The accusations came to light only days after finding out that his other ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea is pregnant with his child and weeks before he would be competing in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour Finals. The timing of all three major occurrences for the athlete has led to the media largely focusing on his success as an athlete, followed by the fact that he is a soon-to-be father.
Sharypova’s allegations against Zverev included emotional and physical assault spanning over the duration of their relationship, which lasted 13 months; she describes details of the violence in an interview with Racquet Magazine. She also explains that the violence in her relationship with the athlete led her to attempt suicide. Sharypova stated that she would not be pressing charges against Zverev as her sole reason for coming forward about the assault after a year of silence was to give strength to other people who may also be suffering in silence from domestic abuse.
Upon the accusations being issued to the public, which were first released on Sharypova’s Instagram at the end of October, Zverev made his own Instagram post. His post first addresses the news that he will soon be a father, and describes that he has a “good relationship” with Patea as they both want what is the best for his child. He then goes on to address Sharypova’s allegations, stating that the “unfounded accusations” were “simply not true”. Many of the comments on this post made by fans show support for the athlete’s news on fatherhood, while only a few reflect concerns for the abuse allegations. Zverev has not given any further statements on this issue.
The timing of the pregnancy announcement and domestic violence allegations seems to cause a lack of media attention to the assault claims as many fans are more interested in Zverev's athletic performance in the finals and the news of the 23-year-old becoming a parent. Many media sources are primarily focusing on the pregnancy announcement, and Zverev’s choice to address both the pregnancy and assault allegations in the same Instagram post has led to a lack of attention being given to Sharypova’s statements.
In response to the allegations against Zverev, the ATP issued a statement that read: “The ATP fully condemns any form of violence or abuse. We expect all members of the Tour to do the same, and to refrain from any conduct that is violent, abusive, or puts others at risk. In circumstances where allegations of violence or abuse are made against any member of the Tour, legal authorities investigate and due process is applied, we then review the outcome and decide the appropriate course of action. Otherwise, we are unable to comment further on specific allegations.”
As Sharypova has stated that she will not be pressing charges, it seems unlikely that the allegations will have any effect on Zverev’s role in ATP Tour finals.
As of now, Zverev’s 2020 season is over, due to his loss at his match against Novak Djokovic at the ATP finals on Friday, 20 November. He finished the season in the Top 10 for the fourth consecutive year in a row, finishing 7th for singles. The athlete stated: “A lot of tough matches, a lot of tough moments, but a good year for me. A lot to build on for next year”.
The tennis player’s success in the ATP finals should not overshadow the serious allegations that have been stated against him, although this seems to be the case for the current media. However, it seems unlikely that there will be any more media coverage on this issue for the time being as Sharypova will not be pressing criminal charges and Zverev will not release any further statements on the accusations.
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