ATP announces internal investigation into Alexander Zverev abuse allegations

The German is accused of assaulting and abusing his ex-girlfriend over an extended period

Alexander Zverev, 2021 Alexander Zverev by © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

The ATP announced on Monday that it has opened an internal investigation into allegations of abuse surrounding Germany’s Alexander Zverev during the Shanghai Masters in 2019.

World No 4 Zverev is accused by his ex-girlfriend of physical abuse, part of which is alleged to have occurred during the Shanghai event. The German denies all accusations.

In a statement, the ATP said it “fully condemns any form of violence or abuse and will investigate such allegations related to conduct at an ATP member tournament”.

“The allegations raised against Alexander Zverev are serious and we have a responsibility to address them,” ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli said. “We hope our investigation will allow us to establish the facts and determine appropriate follow-up action. We understand Zverev welcomes our investigation and acknowledge that he has denied all allegations. We will also be monitoring any further legal developments following the preliminary injunction obtained by Zverev in the German Courts.”

ATP criticised for being slow to react

Zverev’s former girlfriend, Olga Sharypova, first made accusations against Zverev in an interview in Racquet Magazine in November 2020 but the ATP was slow to react. The ATP, which does not have a domestic abuse policy, was heavily criticised for its lack of response and it was only in August 2021, shortly after Sharypova made more allegations in a further interview, that it announced a review of safeguarding policies.

ATP safeguarding report is completed

On Monday the ATP said it that independent safeguarding report has now been completed. The report “outlines a number of wide-ranging recommendations to ensure safeguarding is embedded across all aspects of ATP organisational activity. Topics covered include prevention, reporting and investigation of abuse, disciplinary measures, policy statements, event safety, training, information sharing, collaboration with other bodies of tennis and the appointment of dedicated safeguarding leads.

“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.

“As an organisation we recognise the need to be doing more to ensure everyone involved in professional tennis feels safe and protected,” Calvelli said. “The recommendations of the Safeguarding Report will help us approach this in a robust way. We are committed to making meaningful steps forward and know this won’t be an overnight process.”

Zverev responded on Monday evening via social media, welcoming the investigation and reiterating his denial of the allegations.

“I have always been in full support of the creation of an ATP domestic violence policy,” he wrote. “Moreover, I welcome the ATP investigation in the matter and have been asking the ATP to initiate an independent investigation for months.”

Zverev added that his legal team were taking further action against Slate as a publisher and Rothenberg individually.

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