Alexander Zverev and his former management firm ACE Group, headed by Patricio Apey, reached an out-of-court settlement before a High Court hearing was due to start in London on Wednesday.
It settled a two-year legal wrangle that started when Zverev decided to exit from their representation contract. He is currently represented by Team8, which also manages Roger Federer. The Swiss is also a shareholder in the New York-based management firm.
“It’s an extreme sense of relief, we have been dealing with this for two years now,” said Zverev.
“It’s nice to know that I don’t have to wake up on a Monday morning and talk to these guys (his lawyers). It has been on my mind – my lack of performance in 2019, this was a big factor in it. I’m happy to be released from that.”
The legal dispute had begun when Zverev ended the contract with his former manager Patricio Apey in 2018. Zverev had sued ACE Group International and his former agent Patricio Apey and made a claim of “unlawful restraint of trade”, but ACE disputed his claim.
Zverev’s representatives contended that Apey had wanted to tie him to a 16-year deal, which they had not fully understood.
“In 2019 the player decided to leave ACE and later joined another agency,” read a statement from the ACE group. “His lawyers wrote a letter claiming he was entitled to leave for various false reasons which they later retracted.
“Alexander Zverev then brought a claim against ACE alleging out agreement was a ‘restraint of trade.’ Today his representatives agreed to drop that claim and to meet his own costs of bringing the claim.
“Each side will meet their own costs as part of the settlement. It is sad that a successful working partnership which lasted so long as ended this way and that, unfortunately, many of these deals secured by ACE are no longer in place.
“ACE Group and in particular Patricio Apey, is proud to have helped nurture and initially finance Alexander Zverev’s early tennis career when he was 825 in the world and negotiated so many lucrative commercial deals for the player on his journey to becoming, at one stage, No 3 in the world at the time he decided to leave ACE. We wish him well for the future.”
Zverev’s solicitor, Mark Stephens, said the case should be a ‘salutary warning to all young sports people everywhere to get wise professional advice before signing onerous contracts.’
The German player, whose off-court problems seem to have taken precedence this year, said he was looking forward to getting back on the practice court at prepare for the 2021 season.