Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has slammed the men’s tennis governing body, the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), for not taking the accusations of domestic violence against Alexander Zverev seriously enough.
Last month, Zverev’s former girlfriend Olga Sharypova had accused the German of physical abuse during their relationship. Sharypova, a former tennis player herself, said that Zverev punched her in the face during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva, causing her to attempt suicide in the hotel room.
But the ATP has distanced itself from the case.
After much pressure they issued a statement on November 13, without any specifics, saying, “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.”
Unlike a lot of League sports in the USA, the ATP does not have a policy on domestic violence.
Bartoli believes the ATP statement is a too little, too late.
“It’s quite disturbing that the ATP hasn’t reacted yet,” she said on Match Point by Tennis Majors.
“I just feel they are standing by whatever PR is sending statements, trying to put it under the carpet. It’s not Ok to act like that.
“No matter what has been happening, obviously we can’t judge that because we have two different versions of the subject.
“But the ATP has to stand up and say we can’t leave that issue without having our proper investigation and see what the outcome is and take the proper decision, in case something that severe did actually happen.
“If it really happened the way she has been describing it then some serious action needs to be taken against Sascha Zverev. You can’t just leave it like this.”
ATP player Noah Rubin agreed with the Frenchwoman’s opinion.
“Maybe we don’t have it in tennis as much as other sports. But there is not reason why we can’t have an understanding of what to do in situations like these,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to tennis fans who say this is not OK, you can’t have people just smiling, acting like nothing’s happening, when something of this severity is happening in our sport.
“Whatever actually took place, that’s up to us to find out, but it’s scary for us to act like this is the status quo and let’s just move on when people’s lives are at stake.”
Zverev has repeatedly denied the allegations, calling them ‘unfounded and untrue’. He even took a jibe at Sharypova during the trophy presentation at Paris Masters.
“There’s gonna be a lot of people that try to wipe the smile off my face,” Zverev said while picking up the runners-up trophy in Bercy. “But under this mask I’m smiling brightly.”