Roger Federer gets ‘super uncomfortable’ over Alexander Zverev domestic abuse questionsMay 19, 2021
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Roger Federer has weighed in on allegations of domestic abuse leveled at tennis star Alexander Zverev, saying the ATP should not get involved in players’ private lives.
Zverev’s ex-girlfriend Olya Sharypova alleged last year the world No. 7 had been abusive towards her — accusations the German strongly denied, labelling them “unfounded” and “simply not true”.
Earlier this year, Zverev parted ways with Team8 — the sports management company Federer co-founded with long-time agent Tony Godsick. The 23-year-old said at the time he was leaving Federer’s stable so he could “go back to the roots” and have his family take on an increased role in his career.
Federer was asked ahead of his first-round match in Geneva this week whether the split had anything to do with the allegations against Zverev, and Federer was keen to steer clear of his rival’s personal affairs.
“These are decisions that Tony takes, and the team,” Federer said. “Look, Sascha (Zverev) is a great guy. I’m really happy for him when he does well. But I don’t get involved in those types of decisions, to be honest.
“For me this is something that is anyway in the past now, and I think for Sascha it’s important to have his team and be comfortable with his team What I’ve always wanted to make sure is that regardless of whoever was at the company … I feel like the agency shouldn’t be in the way of your stuff, of your thing, of your life. All of the allegations, that’s super private stuff that I really don’t want to comment.”
The ATP — tennis’ governing body for the men’s tour — has taken no action against Zverev and has not launched any investigation, but did release a statement condemning “any form of violence or abuse.”
Asked whether the ATP should take a more hands-on role in addressing the matter by pursuing its own formal investigation, or establishing a policy to deal with players accused of domestic violence, Federer said it was tough for the governing body to exert jurisdiction because tennis players are “independent contractors”, rather than athletes employed by a specific league.
It was clearly a topic that made Federer uncomfortable, saying he didn’t want to speak about it.
“We’re independent contractors, so it’s maybe more complicated than other (leagues),” said Federer.
“I feel like this is something very personal, and I guess when you’re employed at a club or in a league it’s something very different, because then you get a salary from there.
“Of course there needs to be a certain code, like they have on the court, but that one’s also gotten more and more strict over the years. So now you want to move over into the private life as well? I feel like for that we have other sets of rules, governments and all that stuff.
“I don’t know that I want to talk about it to be honest. I don’t want to bring this subject up I feel like I want Sascha to focus on his tennis and who am I now, months later, to comment on it?
“I don’t feel super comfortable talking about it.”
Federer lost his first round match in Geneva on Tuesday. In his first outing for two months, the 39-year-old lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to Spanish clay court specialist Pablo Andujar to wreck his hopes of stringing a run of matches together ahead of a series of major tournaments, namely the French Open, Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.
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