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4 Oct, 2021 16:53

‘We have a responsibility’: Tennis chiefs launch internal investigation over ‘serious’ abuse allegations by Zverev’s ex-girlfriend

‘We have a responsibility’: Tennis chiefs launch internal investigation over ‘serious’ abuse allegations by Zverev’s ex-girlfriend

Men's tennis governing body the ATP has launched an internal investigation into allegations made by the ex-girlfriend of world number four Alex Zverev, including claims that he attacked her and she tried to take her own life.

Olympic Games champion Zverev issued a blanket denial after his former partner, Olga Sharypova, publicly accused him last October of seriously assaulting her.

In an interview in American online magazine Slate in August, former junior player Sharypova made new allegations, including claims that Zverev punched her in their hotel room while they were at the Shanghai Masters tournament in October 2019, leading to her taking drastic action by injecting herself with insulin.

ATP chief executive Massimo Calvelli pointed out that Zverev has always denied all of the allegations and said that the star "welcomes" the investigation.

"The allegations raised against Alexander Zverev are serious and we have a responsibility to address them," he said.

"We hope our investigation will allow us to establish the facts and determine appropriate follow-up action. We will also be monitoring any further legal developments following the preliminary injunction obtained by Zverev in the German Courts."

The ATP's statement also said that it "condemns any form of violence or abuse and will investigate such allegations related to conduct at an ATP member tournament."

In a statement on August 27, Zverev said: “I have put my German and American lawyers on the matter. They have already obtained a preliminary injunction against the source and author who publishes the false accusations.

"The court followed our arguments and claims that the accusations are defamatory and false. Therefore, my lawyers have initiated new proceedings against the source and the author."

The 24-year-old "categorically and unequivocally" denies abusing the Russian former junior player.

"On the other hand, I fully support the ATP’s creation of a domestic violence policy and I reiterate that I will not address this issue further," he added.

The ATP has separately completed an an independent safeguarding report it commissioned earlier this season under the watch of Chris Smart, a former Detective Chief Inspector of the UK's Metropolitan Police.

"ATP will now evaluate the recommendations to identify immediate next steps and develop a longer-term safeguarding strategy relating to all matters of abuse, including domestic violence," it said.

Calvelli added: "As an organization, we recognize the need to be doing more to ensure everyone involved in professional tennis feels safe and protected."

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