Tennis star’s ex-girlfriend speaks out
Tennis star Alexander Zverev has denied allegations made by his ex-girlfriend that he tried to strangle her and hit her head against a wall at the 2019 US Open.
Olya Sharypova, 23, dated the German world No 7, also 23, for several years before their split last year and claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse on Instagram this week.
The Russian photographer did not name Zverev specifically but once contacted by Russian outlet Championat, she confirmed he was the subject of her post.
Sharypova claimed Zverev tried to strangle her with a pillow in an attack before the tournament - in which Zverev reached the fourth round - that she says left her fearing for her life.
Zverev called the accusations "unfounded" and "simply not true" in a statement posted on Twitter.
"The unfounded accusations of my ex-girlfriend Olya Sharypova, which I read in the media today … make me very sad," Zverev wrote. "We have known each other since we were children and shared many experiences together. I very much regret that she makes such statements. Because the accusations are simply not true.
"We had a relationship, but it ended a long time ago. Why Olya is making these accusations now, I just don't know. I really hope that the two of us will find a way to deal with each other again in a reasonable and respectful way."
Sharypova's translated post - accompanied with a shot of her outside Rome's Colosseum - read: "I was a victim of domestic abuse! The first time this happened at the beginning of this relationship, there was a quarrel and I got hit with my head against the wall with so much power that I sat on the floor.
"In August of that year, I ran out of the hotel barefoot. I was standing on the streets of New York and didn't know where to go and what to do. They tried to choke me with a pillow, hit my head against the wall, twisted my hands and at that moment I was really afraid for my life. This was far from the first and not the last situation when I was raised in a relationship. It was the scariest because at some point I couldn't breathe.
"Honestly, that time I remember hard because there were no colours of life, one fog and a lack of understanding. I was a different person, believed in love and tried to keep it. But people don't change, as time shows."
In response to a question posed by Championat about whether Zverev - known as Sasha - was the person in question, Sharypova said: "On that day, I was just walking with Daria Medvedeva (wife of Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev) and my friend.
"We lingered a little, and Sasha got angry about it. When I got home, we had a fight. Our quarrels always took place from scratch. I wrote on Instagram that he tried to strangle me with a pillow, twisted my arms. I tried to run out of the room several times, but he would not let me. I was afraid that someone might see and hear us. But in the end I managed to break free, and I ran off barefoot.
"At first I was hiding in a hotel, but Sasha went downstairs and found me. We stood near the side entrance. I sobbed and tried to leave, and he wanted me to return to the room and we talked. But I understood that at that moment there would be no dialogue. I was scared and wanted to run away. But Sasha pushed me against the wall and said that he would get nothing for it.
"Fortunately, at that moment people appeared, and I rushed with them into the street. I was alone, barefoot in the middle of the street. After this situation, Sasha wrote to and called me. At first I didn't want to see him, but I decided that we still need to talk. I arrived at the hotel and waited for him in the lobby, because I did not have a room card.
"While we corresponded with Sasha, we again began to swear with him. I sat in the hotel toilet and cried. And when he arrived at the hotel, he just threw my things into the lobby."
Sharypova claimed, both in her post and interview, that the alleged violence from Zverev was not a one-off and occurred on multiple occasions during their relationship.
Also an accomplished tennis player, Sharypova received support on social media from Russian-born Australian player Daria Gavrilova.
Good on Olya for opening up. It would have been pretty scary! I just hope that she can handle all the negativity and what’s to come next. #ibelieveOlya #WhyIStayed except #whySheStayed #stopviolenceagainstwomen— Daria Gavrilova (@Daria_gav) October 29, 2020
Zverev, who reached this year's US Open final last month, also insisted he is ready to "live up to my responsibility as a father" after claims from another ex, Brenda Patea, this week that she was pregnant with his child and wanted sole custody of the baby.
"I am 20 weeks pregnant and I am expecting a child from Alex," she said. "That is out of the question for me (shared custody). The child was not planned, but I will do everything to ensure that it grows up in a harmonious environment. I am in the fortunate position of being able to raise the child on my own."
On Instagram, she added: "The claims I am talking about were regarding the topic of child custody. Yes, I am seeking sole custody of the child and with good reasons, but they are private. I am not in contact with Alex, but I want to state very clearly on here that if he seeks contact with the child, I will not forbid it, on the contrary!"
In his Twitter statement, Zrevev wrote: "I will be a father at age 23. And I am very much looking forward to the child. Even though Brenda and I are no longer together, we have a good relationship and I will live up to my responsibility as a father. Together we will take care of the little person that is about to grow."
- The Sun*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Tennis star's ex-girlfriend speaks out