Former World No 1 Andy Murray has called on the ATP to set up a domestic abuse policy with which the body can make sanctions against players found guilty.
The 33-year-old made the claim in light of German star Alexander Zverev’s alleged acts of domestic violence against ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.
Sharypova, a former Russian junior level player who dated Zverev for over a year, explained in a long interview with Racquet Magazine that the current World No 7’s abuse towards her escalated from hitting her head against a wall, to chocking and punching her in the face.
At the Laver Cup in Geneva last year, she allegedly even attempted to commit suicide.
Zverev has since denied the claim, but the ATP remained silent on the issue until two weeks after the allegations were first made public.
“The ATP fully condemns any form of violence or abuse. We expect all members of the Tour to do the same, and to refrain from any conduct that is violent, abusive, or puts others at risk,” the ATP’s statement read.
“In circumstances where allegations of violence or abuse are made against any member of the Tour, legal authorities investigate and due process is applied, we then review the outcome and decide the appropriate course of action. Otherwise, we are unable to comment further on specific allegations.”
Since neither Sharypova nor Zverev have taken a legal course regarding the allegations, based on the ATP’s statement, the body will not get involved.
Murray however, was not impressed by the delayed reaction, nor by the fact that there was no policy in place.
“I don’t know how long it was, but it certainly was not immediate,” he said.
“But I have read some stuff, and obviously tennis doesn’t have a domestic abuse policy. That is something we as a sport should be looking into, so the ATP know what to do in that situation, rather than having to think and react to it. They can be a bit more proactive in a situation like that. They need to take it extremely seriously and see what comes of it in the coming months.”
Similar to Murray’s claim, World No 1 Novak Djokovic too, during the ATP Tour Finals in London last week, asserted that the ATP should be looking into creating a policy.
“Whether ATP should develop the kind of a policy, why not? Probably it should be there in place,” he said.
“But I guess it wasn’t developed and it wasn’t there because we just did not have the cases like this, I think, previously – I might be wrong – in the history of sport. But I have not heard that we had maybe top players involved in such instances.
So maybe that kind of case will in a way inspire ATP to do something like that.”
In comparison, the National Football League in the United States has a strict policy (Personal Conduct Policy) in place.
As reported by CBS News, the NFL policy states: ‘An individual is subject to discipline under the policy if the person is determined to be guilty of a criminal charge or if the NFL investigation demonstrates the person engaged in conduct prohibited by the policy. Depending on the nature of the violation and the person’s record, discipline may be a fine, suspension, community service, or a combination of the three. Violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault will result in a baseline six-game suspension without pay, with more if aggravating factors are present, such as the use of a weapon or a crime against a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL.’