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Alexander Zverev allegations, explained: Tennis star in the spotlight at Australian Open over domestic violence trial

All eyes are on Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open as he faces Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday for a spot in the semi-finals.

However, while he has stormed into the latter stages of the tournament at Melbourne Park, it is not necessarily Zverev’s on-court performances that have created headlines but the German player’s upcoming trial over domestic abuse allegations.

A day before his first-round match against countryman Dominik Koepfer, a district court in Germany announced that Zverev will face a public trial to answer accusations of physically abusing his former partner.

Zverev denies the allegations, but a hearing will begin in Berlin in May.

MORE: Australian Open prize money 2024: How much will the players make?

Alexander Zverev domestic violence allegations timeline

In October 2020, Zverev was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova. He denied those allegations on Instagram, saying that her “unfounded allegations” were “simply not true.”

Sharypova subsequently conducted two interviews with journalist Ben Rothenberg, which were published in November 2020 and August 2021, respectively. 

The alleged assaults included Zverev punching her in the face, covering her face with a pillow until she struggled to breathe and pushing her against a wall.

In October 2021, the ATP – male tennis’ governing body – announced an investigation into those allegations, to which Zverev again denied any wrongdoing.

That ATP investigation took place over 15 months before it was closed in January 2023. Zverev was not sanctioned, with the body citing insufficient evidence.

Zverev subsequently issued a statement maintaining his innocence and welcoming the ATP’s findings.

Fresh allegations against Zverev in relation to claims of domestic violence against a different ex-partner emerged in 2023, with the 26-year-old ordered by a Berlin court in November to pay a €450,000 fine.

Former partner Brenda Patea alleged in an interview with a German newspaper that she was pushed into a wall and choked in May 2020.

Zverev denied those charges and lodged an objection against the penalty order, which under German law means a public trial must take place.

In a statement released when the penalty order was issued, Zverev’s lawyers said the evidence had been dismissed as “incomprehensible and contradictory” by a medical report.

MORE: Australian Open LIVE results so far and schedule to come

Will Alexander Zverev attend his trial in person and miss the French Open?

The timing of Zverev’s upcoming trial is potentially important. The hearing will begin on May 31, which coincides with the 2024 French Open. That starts on May 26 and runs until June 9.

However, according to multiple reports, he will not be required to appear at the trial in person.

Once the case begins, the court will sit on June 7, 11, 18 and 21, before three more sittings on July 5, 12 and 19.

Those dates mean another potential clash with a second major grand slam tournament: Wimbledon will take place from July 1–14. 

More dates may be added to the trial if further examination of the evidence is required.

Alexander Zverev questioned over ATP Player Council position

Zverev was announced only recently as a new member of the ATP’s Player Advisory Council. He was elected by his peers on the tour, alongside nine other members.

The main responsibility of the council is to make recommendations to tour management and the ATP board.

His position on the council while he faces domestic violence allegations has been questioned by journalists at the Australian Open.

“Why would it not be?” Zverev said when asked if it was appropriate to be on the Player Advisory Council. 

“Nobody has said anything to me. I don’t have a reason not to believe that.”

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