Questions continue to follow Alexander Zverev into Australian Open semi-final

Alexander Zverev continues to be scrutinised over allegations of domestic abuse.

Alexander Zverev continues to be scrutinised over allegations of domestic abuse. Photo: Getty

Alexander Zverev’s tennis has been impressive on his way to an Australian Open semi-final, but his press conferences have been dominated by off-court questions.

“I just played four hours, 40 minutes,” the incensed world No.6 said on Wednesday.

“That’s not the first question I really want to hear, to be honest. I’ve got no idea.”

He had just been asked if he would attend an impending domestic abuse trial in May, and it isn’t the first time he’s been asked about the trial or other allegations during the tournament.

Journalists have hounded Zverev since his first-round victory, asking if a man accused of domestic violence should be allowed to represent players on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) player advisory council and about the trial.

He responded by accusing journalists of being more interested “in clicks than the truth,” but the scrutiny hasn’t let up despite his success on the court.

The allegations

Two women have made allegations of domestic abuse against Zverev; the one he will face trial for in March is ex-pro Olga Sharypova.

He will face trial in Germany after appealing against a $750,000 fine over the alleged assault of a former partner, who accused the 26-year-old of “physically abusing and damaging” the health of the mother of his child during an argument in May 2020.

In Germany, prosecutors can levy fines against people when they believe they have compelling evidence against them, which the defendant can contest.

If Zverev chooses to appear in the trial, which a court spokesperson said could run for eight days, it will severely affect his ability to play at the French Open.

Professional players elected Zverev to a two-year term on the ATP council at the beginning of the year, well after the allegations allegedly occurred and became public.

His lawyers have signalled in a statement that he will challenge the validity of the claims, which they say have “considerable inconsistencies that are not comprehensible from a forensic medical point of view”.

“Or in other words: It is practically impossible that the facts of the case occurred as alleged by the complainant,” the statement released last year read.

Sharypova spoke extensively about the physical and emotional abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Zverev, who completely denies wrongdoing.

She said in an interview with Ben Rothenberg she tried on more than one occasion to commit suicide by injecting insulin, and claimed that tennis officials at the Laver Cup witnessed one of those occasions.

The response

The peak representative body for men’s players has no domestic violence policy.

The ATP looked into the accusations, but said in a statement “the investigation was unable to substantiate the allegations of abuse”.

Its rulebook states it does not have “the authority to provisionally suspend players who have been charged with, or are facing, a criminal trial”.

The response from athletes at the Australian Open has been muted at best, with most male players dodging the question or feigning ignorance.

Some women on the tour have spoken out, including world No.1 Iga Swiatek and Daria Kasatkina.

“For sure, it’s not good when a player who’s facing charges like that is kind of being promoted,” Swiatek said in a press conference.

World No.1 Iga Swiatek questioned if the ATP should be promoting someone facing domestic violence allegations. Photo: AAP

“If you’re a female, then I would advise you to make a research about the guy you wanna watch and think again,” Kasatkina wrote on X.

Rodger Federer’s management company dropped Zverev after the allegations became public, but he has held onto a deal with Adidas despite not appearing in any new advertising.

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via the website, or text 0458 737 732.

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