Andy Murray urges ATP Tour to be ‘more proactive’ amid Alexander Zverev abuse allegations

Andy Murray defeats Oscar Otte in five sets at Wimbledon

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Andy Murray has urged the ATP tour to be “more proactive” in dealing with the abuse allegations facing world No 4 Alexander Zverev. The Brit is one of the few players who has openly shared his thoughts on the allegations made against Zverev by his ex-girlfriend of a year, which the German has continued to deny.

Murray has called on the ATP to address the allegations made against Zverev, which first came to light in October 2020 when his ex-girlfriend Olga ‘Olya’ Sharypova first claimed she had been a victim of domestic abuse, writing on Instagram: “I have been beaten and will not be silent anymore,” then naming her ex-boyfriend Zverev in an interview with Russian website Championat.

She detailed her accusations in two interviews published in Racquet magazine in November 2020 and Slate in August 2021, detailing claims of incidents including being punched in the face repeatedly, having her head hit against a wall, having Zverev sit on a pillow on her face, while dealing with derogatory remarks and “possessive and controlling” behaviour.

The Russian, who was in a relationship with Zverev for around a year beginning September 2018, also revealed she twice attempted to take her own life, with the world No 4 continuing to deny all claims while no charges have been brought.

“I have engaged my German and American lawyers in the matter. They have already obtained a preliminary injunction against the source and the author who published the false allegations. The court followed our arguments and states, the accusations aroused are defamatory and false. The lawyers have therefore initiated further proceedings against the source and the author. I categorically and unequivocally deny having abused Olya. I also fully support the creation of an ATP domestic violence policy. I will not address this matter any further,” Zverev said in a statement on August 27.

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Former world No 1 Murray is one of the few players who has been asked about the allegations multiple times in press conferences this year, including at Wimbledon, and has once again spoken out on the matter while competing in the San Diego Open.

During an interview with Inside Tennis, the three-time Grand Slam champion was once again asked about the allegations against Zverev, after renowned sports broadcaster Mary Carillo quit her role presenting the Laver Cup as she reportedly felt she would be contributing to the “whitewashing” of Sharypova’s allegations, with the German competing in the event and promoted by the tournament.

“I spoke a little bit about it at Wimbledon. I also got asked about it a few months before that…My feeling is still that, you know, the tour…needs to…be more proactive in dealing with situations like that, or allegations like that, because… the way that it’s [been] handled hasn’t been good for anyone,” Murray said, when asked for his feelings on how the incident should be handled.

“I don’t think it’s been great for the tour. I don’t think it’s been great for Zverev, because you know, unless it gets addressed head-on, it’s just going to be lingering, and, like you say, the questions will continue to be getting asked.

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“Like, I spoke about it at Wimbledon, and now here, what is it, three months later, and I’m still getting asked about it.”

The current world No 109 had previously said at Wimbledon that the ATP needed a domestic violence policy in place, and ahead of the US Open – and the publishing of the second story detailing Sharypova’s allegations – the organisation announced they were conducting an independent review into their safeguarding policies, with a focus on abuse.

Murray has continued to stand by his view that the allegations needed to be addressed, and said players like himself wouldn’t be free of questions over the matter until it was resolved.

He continued: “So, obviously, it’s not been properly addressed, and until that happens, then players are going to continue to get asked about it. The broadcasters are invariably going to be talking about it.

“So…I don’t know what advice Zverev will be getting…and I don’t know how you should handle that if you are in that situation or in that position. It’s difficult, but, certainly, it’s been going on too long…It needs to get resolved, clearly.”

Murray, who faces second seed Casper Ruud in the second-round of the San Diego Open on Thursday evening (September 30) shared his frustrations that the conversation surrounding allegations against Zverev were getting in the way of tennis, and acknowledged that it wouldn’t be possible to “draw a line under” the situation until it was directly tackled.

“I think obviously…you need to draw a line under it one way or another until it’s properly addressed. But that’s not going to happen,” he admitted.

“So I certainly would recommend that he goes down whatever route there is to try and get to the bottom of it finally, so everyone can move on, because I…don’t want to be sitting here after winning a tennis match talking about stuff like that.”

“I want to be playing tennis, that’s what I want to be doing. I’m happiest at winning. But…I’ve been asked about it regularly. I don’t know how many other players have been asked about it…I also don’t feel like we should be in that position. It’s been going on a long time.”

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