- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Tennis world No.4 Alexander Zverev has been accused of being 'tone deaf' in his response to a question about the upcoming investigation into abuse allegations against him.
In October 2020 former junior player Olga Sharypova publicly accused Zverev, the German world No.4 and reigning Olympic champion, of a series of assaults, to which he issued a blanket denial.
'NONSENSE': Roger Federer embroiled in latest tennis furore
The ATP has been accused of being too slow to act on Sharypova's allegations, which include that Zverev punched her in their hotel room during the Shanghai Masters in October 2019 and that, in desperation and for a second time, she injected herself with insulin.
However, a year after the allegations first came to light, the ATP has finally promised an investigation into the German star.
Zverev continues to deny all the allegations and has now taken legal action, a route Sharypova has not pursued.
Chief executive Massimo Calvelli said: "The allegations raised against Alexander Zverev are serious and we have a responsibility to address them. We hope our investigation will allow us to establish the facts and determine appropriate follow-up action.
"We understand Zverev welcomes our investigation and acknowledge that he has denied all allegations.
"We will also be monitoring any further legal developments following the preliminary injunction obtained by Zverev in the German courts."
Though he welcomed the investigation, suggesting it was a development he had been pushing for for months, Zverev drew criticism after he was asked about the upcoming probe.
The biggest impact so far of ATP announcing an investigation into Zverev is that German publications, which had been unwilling to go near the story, are now breaking their silence en masse.
Who knows where the investigation leads, but formal action has already made a difference. https://t.co/HDbDSaKx09
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) October 7, 2021
The 24-year-old said he had had one of the 'most incredible seasons' in the last 10 years, and continued talk of Sharypova's allegations against him had overshadowed his achievements.
"To be honest it's very difficult in my situation because a lot of the time the man is not really believed," he said.
"I have proven that I am innocent in a lot of different ways and I think now with this investigation which is finally happening, I hope this can be done and dusted, from a third party and then we can move on with everything else.
"To be honest I've had one of the most incredible seasons a young guy has had in probably the last 10 years, winning the Olympics, two Masters series and four tournaments, and that is kind of forgotten a little bit."
Backlash to Alexander Zverev's response to ATP investigation
Fans were dismayed by Zverev's response to questions about the investigation, disappointed that the German star was more concerned with getting recognition for his on-court feats.
Zverev has previously said he welcomed an independent investigation.
"I have always been in full support of the creation of an ATP domestic violence policy," he wrote on Twitter.
"Moreover, I welcome the ATP investigation in the matter and have been asking the ATP to initiate an independent investigation for months.
"As stated before, I categorically and unequivocally deny any of these allegations."
However, fans were not convinced he took the situation seriously, suggesting he was utilising PR 'spin' to minimise what had allegedly happened.
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) October 6, 2021
He's doing everything he can to spin this in the direction he wants it to be. I find it quite ridiculous that he claims he's proven his innocence yet he's never really addressed the issue at all. It's a clear PR, practice responds by Zverev. He should be more humble. https://t.co/b3Tc8Gw60Z
— Brandneway (@_Brandneway) October 7, 2021
i don’t know what parallel universe zverev is living in but i actually want to visit this universe where there was no need for a ‘me too’ movement because we all believe a woman when she says she was abused https://t.co/gHaGL6p4hi
— k. (@damonikolai) October 7, 2021
Andy Murray has welcomed the ATP's investigation into domestic violence allegations made against Alexander Zverev.
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) October 7, 2021
The ATP does not currently have a domestic violence policy to match those in place in some sports leagues, but announced on Monday an independent report into safeguarding had been completed that includes a number of recommendations.
It said it would study the report and would develop a safeguarding strategy relating to all matters of abuse, including domestic violence.
Zverev is not the only current ATP player facing allegations of domestic violence.
Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 36th, is the subject of a court case in his native Georgia regarding claims by his ex-wife while the former partner of Thiago Seyboth Wild took legal action last week alleging that 21-year-old Brazilian physically and mentally abused her.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.