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"You can only hide for so long" - Martina Navratilova & Jim Courier on Alexander Zverev's domestic abuse allegations

Alexander Zverev has two contrasting stories on and off court
Alexander Zverev has two contrasting stories on and off court
Riya N
FEATURED WRITER

Alexander Zverev is in the middle of an incredible season in 2021, having reached the US Open semifinals after winning the Olympic gold and the Cincinnati Masters. However, an ugly issue off the court has followed him like a dark cloud wherever he has gone.

The German star has been accused of severe domestic and mental abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova, in a detailed two-part interview. While she has stated she doesn't want to press criminal charges, Sharypova's story contained many harrowing details.

In that context, Jim Courier and Martina Navratilova discussed the charges on air during Alexander Zverev's straight-set win over Lloyd Harris in the US Open quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Courier first talked about how there has been "no solution" to the issue because of Sharypova's refusal to take the matter to the law enforcers.

"An ex-girlfriend of his accused him of domestic abuse," began Courier. "No criminal charges have been filed. She was interviewed, stories were written. Zverev hired lawyers to obtain injunctions against the girlfriend and the writer of the article. It's been sort of a no man's land, because she hasn't pressed charges. There's been no solution."

While the commentary duo discussed the allegations, they also praised Alexander Zverev's ability to compartmentalize and produce his best tennis on the court. The 24-year-old acknowledged the allegations by putting out a statement after Sharypova's second interview, wherein he categorically and unequivocally denied having abused her.

Since then, Alexander Zverev has only given short and cryptic answers when asked about the allegations during his press conferences. Martina Navratilova believes, however, that the issue will catch up to him sooner or later unless it is fully addressed.

"Yeah, you can only hide for so long. The tennis court is a safe haven, but eventually, these issues need to be addressed," Navratilova said. "That kind of stuff will eat at you. Who knows what the truth is? It's a he said she said situation. But it needs to be addressed."

While Olga Sharypova's allegations haven't been proven yet, both Jim Courier and Martina Navratilova agreed that there can be no "tolerance" for Alexander Zverev if any part of her story is true. They both also claimed they tend to believe the woman in such cases.

"There can be no tolerance for that kind of behavior," Navratilova said. "Hope it's not true. I want to believe Sascha, but I tend to believe the women."
"Me too," added Courier.

Jim Courier, Martina Navratilova ask for strong action from the ATP in response to cases like Alexander Zverev's

Olga Sharypova has decided not to press domestic violence charges against Alexander Zverev
Olga Sharypova has decided not to press domestic violence charges against Alexander Zverev

While the ATP had opted for a silent approach on this topic when the accusations first came out, they are changing their stance now. Last month, the governing body put out a statement claiming they were in the process of reviewing their abuse policy.

The need for strong action from ATP was stressed upon by both Jim Courier and Martina Navratilova.

"The ATP finally, finally, in a long-overdue move, has responded by commissioning a report from some independent experts to recommend a new domestic violence policy," Courier said. "It has support from people like Andy Murray."
"Many leagues in the US here have added such policies in recent years," he added. "So it's a little overdue from the ATP. It's sad that it is necessary, but it is necessary for everyone within this sport and around it."

Navratilova also pointed out the officials can't afford to ignore such issues, asserting how "that doesn't work".

"Can't be worrying about protecting the integrity of the sport by hushing things up," Navratilova said. "That doesn't work. We need to face it, we need to address it and deal with it - not pretend it didn't happen."
Edited by Musab Abid
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