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Zverev sees no reason to quit tennis player council over assault trial

A defiant Alexander Zverev said Tuesday he sees no reason to step down as an ATP Tour player representative after a German court set a date for him to go on trial for allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend.   

The 26-year-old was handed a 450,000 euro fine ($475,300) in October over the 2020 incident, but he contested the ruling and a Berlin court said Monday a trial will begin from May 31, during the French Open.

Zverev has strenuously denied the accusation and until a final ruling is made, he is considered to be innocent, according to court officials.

Despite the allegations hanging over him, Zverev was this month elected by his peers for a two-year term to the player advisory council of the ATP, the body that runs men’s professional tennis. 

Asked at the Australian Open whether it was appropriate to remain on the council ahead of the trial outcome, he replied: “Why would it not be?”.

He said he believed players had confidence in him.

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

He dismissed suggestions that he was not the right person to hold a leadership position.

“Journalists are saying that, some, who are actually interested more in this story to write about and more about the clicks than the actual truth,” he said.

Fellow players at the opening Grand Slam of the year were reluctant to get involved.

No opinion

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov also sits on the council, but was not prepared to comment on whether it was right that Zverev remained a member.

“Of course there are things swirling around, of course I understand that part,” he said.

“On the other side, on the council… I mean, honestly, I don’t know what to say. It’s not only up to me who is in there, right?

“I think this is a matter that I think everyone needs to sit down together and discuss all of that. That’s my message.”

Others said they were not sufficiently aware of Zverev’s legal troubles.

Greek world number seven Stefanos Tsitsipas said he was “completely unfamiliar” with the situation, while Norwegian world number 11 Casper Ruud said “I don’t really have an opinion right now.”

British 19th seed Cameron Norrie was equally evasive, saying it was “tough to comment” as “I don’t really know too much about that and what happened”.

Women’s world number one Iga Swiatek was more forthcoming, but stressed she was not “in the right position to judge”.

“I think it’s up to the ATP what they decide. For sure it’s not good when a player who’s facing charges like that is kind of being promoted,” she said.

“I don’t know what the result of the investigation or the case is going to be. I guess you have to ask the ATP what they want to do with that because I’m not in the right position to judge.”

The ATP had no immediate comment.

Last year, the ATP closed an investigation into separate allegations of domestic abuse against Zverev after finding insufficient evidence.

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