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Zverev's domestic abuse appeal hearing begins

Alexander Zverev at the French Open
Alexander Zverev will compete in the third round of the French Open on Saturday [Getty Images]

Alexander Zverev's trial over domestic abuse allegations has been adjourned after lawyers for the German made an application for the complainant's evidence to be heard in private.

The world number four - who is playing in the French Open - was given a penalty order last October and was fined 450,000 euros (£390,000) after being accused of physically abusing his former girlfriend.

But he denied the claims and lodged an objection against the order, leading to a public trial.

The appeal hearing began on Friday in Berlin, where Zverev's lawyer Alfred Dierlamm drew the court's attention to social media posts by the complainant from shortly after the alleged incident, saying they showed relations between the couple were good.

He added that the criminal complaint, which was filed over a year after the incident, was linked to a dispute over custody and maintenance payments in relation to the couple's daughter.

The complainant's lawyer, Michael Nitschke, rejected suggestions the trial was just about money.

The hearing was adjourned for the judge to consider whether to exclude the public from the evidence scheduled to be given by the player's ex-girlfriend next week.

That decision will be announced on Monday.

Zverev - who remains legally innocent and is not convicted until a final ruling - was not present at the hearing, as is permitted under German law.

The 27-year-old is yet to drop a set in Paris and made it through to the third round at Roland Garros with a straight-set victory over Belgium's David Goffin.

He has previously said the proceedings in Berlin would not distract from his bid to win a first Grand Slam title.

In advance of the trial, the Tiergarten district court released information about the case.

“The defendant, a well-known German professional athlete, must answer for the accusation of intentional bodily harm," the court said.

"In May 2020, he is said to have briefly choked his then partner's neck with both hands in the stairwell of a Berlin apartment building during an argument. The alleged victim is said to have suffered shortness of breath and considerable pain.

"At the request of the Berlin public prosecutor's office, the Tiergarten district court issued a criminal order against the defendant on 2 October, 2023 because of this accusation.

"A fine of 90 daily rates of 5,000 euros each, a total of 450,000 euros, was imposed. The defendant disputes the accusation and has lodged an objection against the penalty order. A main hearing will therefore now take place.”

The trial is scheduled to continue until the middle of July, with the court sitting on seven days.