'Stupid decision': Australian Open outfit sparks domestic violence furore

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Alexander Zverev has been wearing a tank top at the Australian Open. Image: Getty
Alexander Zverev has been wearing a tank top at the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Tennis pundits have questioned the wisdom of Alexander Zverev's Australian Open outfit after the German player's tank top sparked vulgar jokes about domestic violence allegations against him.

The World No.7 has been rocking the sleeveless look during his matches at Melbourne Park this week, a look similar to Rafael Nadal in his younger days.

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And while the majority of fans have been digging the look, some have pointed out an uncomfortable connection between the tank top and the allegations against him.

In some parts of the world (including Australia), a singlet or tank top can be known as a 'wife-beater' - a vulgar nickname that is far too frequently used given its meaning.

And given the domestic violence allegations currently hanging over Zverev's head, some have questioned whether the outfit was the right choice.

Tennis pundits Catherine Whitaker and David Law discussed the furore on a recent episode of the Tennis Podcast.

“He was wearing an item of clothing provided to him presumably by his kit sponsor, which has a nickname, a pretty well known nickname in some parts of the world, certainly in the UK and in the US as well,” Whitaker said.

“I’m not going to say the nickname because it’s pretty horrible really. 

"But it is well known and still used in some circles and given that nickname it feels like a pretty stupid decision to be wearing that item of clothing. Also he looks pretty silly in it."

Law suggested it was an "unwise" decision by Zverev and his sponsors.

“A lot of people, the moment they saw it, they thought of that nickname,” he said.

“And given all the context of his last 6-8 months and the allegations made against him, it just seems unwise at least.”

Ugly allegations hanging over Alexander Zverev

Zverev's ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova said in November that the German player had tried to "strangle" her while at the 2019 US Open.

In a subsequent media interview with Racquet magazine, the Russian alleged the abuse she suffered drove her to attempt suicide.

The 23-year-old Zverev vehemently denied the allegations and vowed to clear his name.

Alexander Zverev and Olga Sharypova at the Laver Cup in 2019. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup)
Alexander Zverev and Olga Sharypova at the Laver Cup in 2019. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

"We had our ups and downs but the way our relationship is described in the public is not how it was," he said last year. 

"That's not who I am, that's not how I was raised by my parents. It's not who I am as a person.

"It makes me sad the impact that such false accusations can have - on the sport, on the outside word, on myself as well. 

"I truly apologise that the focus has shifted away from the sport. We all love playing tennis. That's what we're here to do."

The ugly scandal came back to the fore earlier in the Australian Open after Zverev's awkward response to an interview question.

When asked by on-court interviewer John Fitzgerald if he was getting taller, Zverev replied: “I hope not, that’d make it hard for me to find a wife”.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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