Zverev not 'treated differently' by ATP stars as Djokovic calls for new policy

In Alexander Zverev’s final press conference of 2020, the German once again brushed off allegations of domestic abuse and insisted he has the backing of his fellow ATP stars.

Zverev, 23, had just been eliminated from the ATP Finals by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who embraced him warmly at the net after his 6-3 7-6 win in an hour and 36 minutes.

The German world No. 7 continues to deny accusations from his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova, who claimed in an Instagram post at the end of October that he had tried to choke her with a pillow during the 2019 US Open.

In an interview with Racquet Magazine, Sharypova claimed she tried to kill herself during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva after Zverev had punched her in the face.

But he shrugged off suggestions that any of his colleagues on the ATP Tour were treating him differently.

‘Other players? They are all fine to me,’ Zverev said, laughing after.

‘I mean, the relationship between me and the players won’t change. The players know what’s going on.’

Djokovic confirmed as much in his post-match press conference.

‘I have not noticed that he has been treated differently from the locker room,’ said world No. 1 Djokovic.

‘I mean, at least in my case, you know, as I said, always had a very good relationship with him.’

Djokovic, 33, also claimed that Zverev had been ‘handling it well’ and that he hopes ‘he overcomes this soon’.

He added: ‘I have not talked with him about that specific case. You know, I did tell him that I’m here if he needs to talk. Of course he’s got, you know, big family and team of people around him.

‘He’s been handling it well, by the looks of his results in the last month and a half or so. He’s been doing well considering he’s got a lot on his plate off the court.

‘So I sincerely wish for him that he overcomes this soon and that he can focus on his life and tennis career.’

Djokovic did, however, support a policy to be put in place that would follow American sports leagues such as the NBA, MLB and NFL that have domestic violence listed in their codes of conduct.

The NFL’s code of conduct allows the league to suspend and ultimately ban players who are found to have breached the policy, even in cases that don’t have legal proceedings.

Asked whether tennis should enforce such measures, Djokovic said: ‘I don’t know what happened. Of course, I mean, obviously I’m not supporting any kind of violence. So we will have to wait and see.

‘Whether ATP should develop the kind of a policy, yeah, I mean, why not? Probably it should be there in place.

‘But I guess it wasn’t developed and it wasn’t there because we just did not have the cases like this, I think, previously – I might be wrong, correct me – I mean, in the history of sport. But I have not heard that we had maybe top players involved in such instances.

‘So maybe that kind of case will, you know, in a way inspire ATP to do something like that. So, yeah.’

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