Alexander Zverev will play in the semifinals at the Australian Open on Friday against Daniil Medvedev. But as the 26-year-old German looks to reach his second career major final, he remains the focus of domestic abuse allegations. On Jan. 16, as the first round of the Australian Open was underway, the Tiergarten district court in Berlin announced it had set May 31 as the start of Zverev’s trial — bringing the accusations back to the forefront.
Here’s what to know about the case:
What are the allegations against Zverev?
According to a court document from October, Zverev is accused of “physically abusing and damaging the health of a woman during an argument in Berlin in May 2020.” The woman is his former partner, Brenda Patea, who is also the mother of his daughter. (ESPN doesn’t normally name alleged victims of domestic abuse, but Patea has gone public with her accusations.) In an interview, Patea said Zverev pushed her into a wall and choked her.
On Oct. 2, 2023, a criminal court issued a fine of €450,000 (about $488,000) and a penalty order against Zverev. In German law, such an order can be used when there is compelling evidence to support the accusation and a trial is not deemed necessary. Defendants have the right to contest the order, which then results in a public trial. Zverev contested the order and legally maintains the presumption of innocence until he stands trial.
On Nov. 1, Zverev called the penalty order “complete bulls—” when speaking to the media at the Paris Masters event. “Anybody that has a semi-standard IQ level knows what this is all about,” Zverev said without further explanation.
Have there been any previous allegations against Zverev?
Yes. Olya Sharypova, another previous partner of Zverev’s and a former tennis player, publicly came forward on Instagram in October 2020 with allegations of abuse at various places around the world, including in cities where ATP tournaments were being held.
In a series of media interviews soon after, Sharypova described multiple instances of violence, including Zverev allegedly punching her in the face, as well as smothering her with a pillow as she struggled to breathe. She said she feared for her life.
Zverev denied the accusations. Sharypova did not go the police, but the ATP hired an outside firm to look into her claims. After a 15-month investigation, which included interviews with Sharypova, Zverev and 24 others, the ATP announced on Jan. 31, 2023, that it…