Europe

Investigation Into Alexander Zverev Finds Insufficient Evidence for Abuse Claims

The men’s professional tennis tour will not punish Alexander Zverev, the German star, in connection with allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend in 2019.

After a 15-month investigation, the ATP Tour announced Tuesday that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations and that it would take no disciplinary action against Zverev.

The ATP commissioned the investigation after Zverev’s former girlfriend Olya Sharypova, a Russian former tennis player, said that Zverev repeatedly abused her during confrontations in New York, Shanghai, Monaco and Geneva.

The investigation was conducted by The Lake Forest Group, a third-party consultant, working with the ATP’s outside legal counsel, the Florida-based firm Smith Hulsey & Busey. The ATP issued a news release but did not publish a full report.

Zverev and Sharypova both cooperated with the investigation, which included extensive interviews with them, as well as family members, friends and other tennis players. Investigators also reviewed text messages, audio files and photos, some of which came from a forensic analysis of Zverev’s phone. Sharypova did not file criminal charges against Zverev.

Zverev has denied the allegations and said he supported the ATP carrying out an investigation. The allegations appeared both on social media and in a lengthy article in Slate published in 2021.

“From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence and denied the baseless allegations made against me,” Zverev said in a statement Tuesday. “I welcomed and fully cooperated with the ATP’s investigation and am grateful for the organization’s time and attention in this matter.”

Zverev has also sued Slate, and a German court ruled after a preliminary hearing that the evidence presented in the article was not sufficient under German law to justify the impact on him. That decision stated the article needed to have enough balance that it did not leave the impression that Zverev was guilty of the acts Sharypova accused him of committing.

Zverev, the Olympic gold medalist in men’s singles in 2021, continued to play during the investigation and recorded some of his biggest wins during that time, including at the tour’s season-ending ATP Finals. He severely injured an ankle in June 2022 in the semifinals of the French Open but returned to playing competitively late in the fall; he played in January in the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round. After the loss, he said he had yet to regain his fitness or his form from before the injury.

“I am grateful that this is finally resolved and my priority now is recovering from injury and concentrating on what I love most in this world — tennis,” he said in his statement Tuesday.

Sharypova did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the investigation. In 2021, she said she did not want to discuss her story, writing in a message, “I don’t want to live in my memories of the past anymore, because it’s too hard for me. I want to live in the present and be engaged in making myself happy.”

Massimo Calvelli, the chief executive of the ATP, said the tour had pursued an “exhaustive process” in the investigation. He said the investigation had “shown the need for us to be more responsive on safeguarding matters,” including protection of players, their partners and anyone directly connected with the tour. The ATP plans to hire a director of safeguarding in the near future.

Back to top button