'Uncomfortable': Federer speaks on Alexander Zverev abuse claims

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Roger Federer says he has not taken a specific view of abuse allegations levelled against Alexander Zverev last year. Pictures: Getty Images
Roger Federer says he has not taken a specific view of abuse allegations levelled against Alexander Zverev last year. Pictures: Getty Images

Roger Federer says he has chosen not to take a personal view on the abuse allegations levelled at tour rival Alexander Zverev.

Zverev announced his decision to leave Federer's Team8 agency three months after his former partner, Olya Sharypova, went public with allegations the German player's abuse had driven her to attempt suicide.

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In announcing his choice, Zverev said he was not leaving the Team8 agency as a result of the allegations, instead pointing to a running legal dispute with his former agent, as well as a desire to bring his family closer to his business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a recent interview with Ben Rothenberg, Federer said the decision for Team8 and Zverev to part ways was left largely in the hands of manager Tony Godsick.

Federer said the allegations were 'super private stuff', declaring he wasn't interested in commenting on them, adding that he was 'super happy' for Zverev when he turned in good performances.

“Look, Sascha (Zverev) is a great guy. I’m really happy for him when he does well. But I don’t get involved in those types of decisions, to be honest," he said.

“I think that’s what I’ve heard, is that Sascha also wanted - there was an urge for a fresh start, and I think for Tony and the team as well. I’m not sure.

“But I’m happy when Sascha does well, and all of the allegations - that’s super private stuff that I really don’t want to comment (on).”

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Roger Federer distances himself from Alexander Zverev allegations

Federer was unwilling to delve into too much detail about the allegations against Zverev, instead expressing an opinion for legal authorities to deal with such circumstances as opposed to the ATP becoming involved.

The Swiss champion said each player's status as, essentially, an independent contractor, meant it was difficult to bind them all to a 'certain code'.

"Of course there needs to be a certain code, like they have on the court but that one’s also gotten more and more strict over the years,” he said.

“I don’t know that I want to talk about it, to be honest. I don’t want to bring this subject up.

“I feel like I want Sascha to focus on his tennis and who am I now, months later, to comment on it?

“I understand that, Ben, you want to write something about it. But you understand me, too, that I don’t feel super comfortable talking about it.”

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

Zverev has consistently denied the allegations from last year.

He has never been charged in relation to the allegations, which his dismissed as 'unfounded and untrue'.

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

“That’s not who I am, that’s not how I was raised by my parents. 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.”

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