Tennis might have a real problem as Alexander Zverev begins to peak

Zverev's off-court issue will shadow his play at the French Open.
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Alexander Zverev is back in the top-five of the ATP rankings and he has a very good chance to stay there for a while. He has a decent chance of moving up to No. 3 if he has a great run at the French Open. Since he is an excellent clay-court player and as Roland Garros is played on clay, Zverev should be considered a favorite in Paris.

He is fresh off a victory at the Rome Masters where he lost just one set in the tournament. His career clay-court win percentage is .726 and that might be even better if not for a fairly horrific ankle injury in 2022 while Zverev had a decent chance of moving up to No. 1 on the ATP tour. If one did not know anything about Zverev's off-court accusations, he might be viewed as one of the faces of men's tennis.

The German is a good-looking guy who is humble in his responses and he comes off as awkwardly shy at times and that might only enamor one's feelings about him. After winning the Italian Open, he began his trophy speech by acknowledging what most of the Italian crowd would have truly wanted. Zverev jokingly said, "Buongiorno, everyone. My name is Jannik." A clear reference to injured Italian Jannik Sinner.

Tennis has waited to take any action against Alexander Zverev

But one can also not ignore the domestic assault accusations directed at him by his former girlfriend, Brenda Patea (Patea has gone public with the allegations, otherwise she would not be named here). Zverev wanted the case to go to court and it will but the case will be tried at the same time the French Open is occurring.

This is not an article about Zverev being guilty or innocent; that is for the German court to decide. But there is a chance he could be found guilty around the same time he is winning the French Open. That would be a bad look.

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Zverev has been accused of domestic assault by multiple former partners. That does not mean he is guilty, but in November 2023 he was given a penalty order and fined by a German court for the accusations brought by Patea. The incident allegedly occurred in May 2020. Zverev has also been accused by a different domestic partner of an occurrence during the 2019 US Open. In neither case did the ATP take any kind of discipline on Zverev.

Maybe there was no need to. Possibly Alexander Zverev is innocent of all charges. But if he is found guilty by a German court of domestic assault while he is on his way to winning the French Open and tennis does nothing then that is going to be a real problem for the sport. And frankly, the sport would deserve any criticism that comes its way.

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