Alexander Zverev allegations, explained: Tennis star to play at French Open amid domestic violence trial

Alexander Zverev began his 2024 Roland-Garros campaign with a first-round blockbuster against 14-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal.

While the quality of the match-up attracted plenty of attention, there was also a focus on Zverev’s upcoming trial over domestic abuse allegations.

A day before his first-round match at this year’s Australian Open, a district court in Germany announced that the German star will face a public trial to answer accusations of physically abusing his former partner.

Zverev denies the allegations, but a hearing will begin in Berlin in late May.

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Alexander Zverev domestic violence allegations timeline

In October 2020, Zverev was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova. He denied those claims on Instagram, saying that her “unfounded allegations” were “simply not true.”

Sharypova subsequently conducted two interviews with journalist Ben Rothenberg, which were published in November 2020 and August 2021, respectively. 

The alleged assaults included Zverev punching her in the face, covering her face with a pillow until she struggled to breathe and pushing her against a wall.

In October 2021, the ATP — male tennis’ governing body — announced an investigation into those allegations. Zverev again denied any wrongdoing.

That ATP investigation took place over 15 months before it was closed in January 2023. Zverev was not sanctioned, with the body citing insufficient evidence.

Zverev subsequently issued a statement maintaining his innocence and welcoming the ATP’s findings.

Alexander Zverev

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Fresh allegations against Zverev of domestic violence against a different ex-partner emerged in 2023, with the 26-year-old ordered by a Berlin court in November to pay a €450,000 fine.

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Former partner Brenda Patea alleged in an interview with a German newspaper that she was pushed into a wall and choked in May 2020.

Zverev denied those charges and lodged an objection against the penalty order, which under German law means a public trial must take place.

In a statement released when the penalty order was issued, Zverev’s lawyers said the evidence had been dismissed as “incomprehensible and contradictory” by a medical report.

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Will Alexander Zverev have to attend his trial during the French Open?

Zverev’s upcoming hearing will begin on May 31, which overlaps with the 2024 French Open.

The tournament began on May 26 and will run until June 9.

However, he will not be required to appear at the trial in person.

This is because the ATP Tour rulebook does not feature a policy for player punishments for domestic violence charges.

According to The Athletic, the rulebook allows for a provisional suspension if a player is charged with a civil or criminal offense “contrary to the integrity of the Game of Tennis”, although that policy has not been implemented.

Zverev will play David Goffin in the second round of Roland-Garros on May 30.

Alexander Zverev

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Once the case begins, the court will sit on June 7, 11, 18 and 21, before three more sittings on July 5, 12 and 19.

Those dates set up another potential clash with a second major grand slam tournament: Wimbledon will take place from July 1–14. As with Roland-Garros, Zverev is currently not required to attend in-person.

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More dates may be added to the trial if further examination of evidence is required.

Alexander Zverev questioned over ATP Player Council position

Zverev was announced as a new member of the ATP’s Player Advisory Council at the start of 2024. He was elected by his peers on the tour, alongside nine other members.

The main responsibility of the council is to make recommendations to tour management and the ATP board.

His position on the council while he faces domestic violence allegations was questioned by journalists at the Australian Open.

“Why would it not be?” Zverev said when asked if it was appropriate to be on the Player Advisory Council. 

“Nobody has said anything to me. I don’t have a reason not to believe that.”

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