Roger Federer says Djokovic was 'in touch' after Laver Cup
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The Laver Cup has partially been overshadowed by domestic abuse allegations hanging over Alexander Zverev’s head. The world No 4 is competing as part of Team Europe and his participation has already caused some controversy as Twitter users responding to the official Laver Cup account with his ex-girlfriend’s abuse allegations found themselves blocked by the tournament. Now, esteemed tennis pundit Mary Carillo has revealed she stepped down from her role presenting the tournament due to the allegations against Zverev.
The fourth edition of the Laver Cup is currently being held in Boston, after the pandemic forced organisers to cancel the event in 2020.
The Ryder Cup-style tournament was co-created by Roger Federer and sees players gather to face off as Team Europe and Team World, while honouring tennis legend Rod Laver.
While the Swiss star is unable to compete as part of Team Europe for the first time this year, having undergone a third knee surgery, Alexander Zverev has remained a constant in the squad, and is now the only European player to have competed in every Laver Cup event.
However, his participation has come under controversy this year, as it is the first time the world No 4 has been picked for the tournament since domestic abuse allegations against him came to light.
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In October 2020, his ex-girlfriend Olga ‘Olya’ Sharypova first claimed that she had been a victim of domestic, posting to Instagram and captioning the photo in Russian: “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, describing incidents that she claimed occurred during tournaments including the 2019 Laver Cup.
During the interviews, both conducted by tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, Sharypova detailed 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 from September 2018, also alleged that one of the worst attacks took place in Geneva during the 2019 edition of the Laver Cup, saying this was the “first time” the German punched her in the face, and revealing she attempted to take her own life by injecting herself with Zverev’s insulin – something that can be life-threatening to someone who is not diabetic.
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The German tennis star has continued to deny all allegations made by Sharypova and no charges have been brought, meanwhile the ATP is conducting a review of their safeguarding policy with a focus on abuse while their current lack of a domestic abuse policy means Zverev has continued to play without any sanctions or restrictions.
Ahead of the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, the 24-year-old was revealed as one of the players chosen to once again represent Team Europe, having sealed victory during a decisive match against Milos Raonic in 2019.
Many fans have already taken issue with the 17-time tour title winner’s appearance, and had been providing screenshots showing they were blocked by the official Laver Cup twitter account for addressing Sharypova’s allegations in posts promoting Zverev, before the tournament’s account noticeably stopped posting about the German.
His participation has also prompted highly-respected tennis commentator and former player Mary Carillo to quit her role as part of the official Laver Cup broadcasting team after three years.
The renowned American sports-caster has previously repeated Sharypova’s allegations against Zverev when commentating his matches for the likes of NBC in the United States.
During the recent US Open, she also said: “[The ATP] should investigate this. There are damning text messages and photographs. This has been going on for way too long. Until then it is very hard for me to call [Alexander] Zverev matches without thinking about that.”
Carillo has now continued to voice her disappointment at the handling of Sharypova’s allegations against Zverev, stepping down from her role presenting and commentating on the Laver Cup stream after saying she would feel “complicit” by continuing to work with the tournament, whose officials are yet to comment on the claims despite some allegedly taking place at the last edition.
“In the end I just felt like I’d be complicit in the whitewashing of very serious allegations. I couldn’t be part of it,” she said of her decision to quit her Laver Cup job.
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