Alexander Zverev steals Paris Masters champion Daniil Medvedev's thunder by responding to...

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May 8, 2002
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Daniil Medvedev may have won the Paris Masters on Sunday, but it was runner-up Alexander Zverev who prompted more debate as he used his presentation speech to reply to his growing legion of critics. “There's gonna be a lot of people that try to wipe the smile off my face,” said Zverev, who was recently accused of domestic abuse by his former girlfriend Olya Sharypova. “But under this mask I'm smiling brightly. I'm probably gonna be a father soon. Everything is great in my life right now. The people keep trying … but I'm still smiling under this mask.” Sharypova, a former junior tennis star, made her first allegations in an Instagram post at the end of October. Her initial claim – that Zverev had tried to choke her with a pillow during the 2019 US Open – has since been supplemented by further allegations, including that she had tried to kill herself during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva after Zverev had punched her in the face. Zverev has repeatedly been asked about Sharypova’s claims in his press conferences in Paris, but his replies have all directed reporters to his Instagram statement of October 29, in which he said that “the accusations are simply not true”. Despite Zverev’s denials, thousands of social-media accounts have been spreading a hashtag entitled “I stand with Olya”. Sharypova has said that she does not want compensation for the alleged violence, but intends to keep releasing details of what she claims was a toxic relationship. At Sunday night’s post-match press conference, Zverev was asked to clarify his earlier remarks from the presentation ceremony. “For a professional athlete there are always going to be people who try to wipe the smile off your face,” he said, again. “So they can keep trying. I'm still smiling.” The issue is likely to resurface next week when Zverev and Medvedev are both due to participate in the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Medvedev's 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win in Paris has moved him up to No 4 in the world rankings, swapping places with Roger Federer, while Zverev climbs one place to No 6. Meanwhile, the controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios has spoken of struggles with depression in an interview with Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph. “I felt like no one wanted to know me as a person, they just wanted to get a hold of me as a tennis player and use me,” said Kyrgios. “It was a lonely, dark place… I just lost joy for the game and I was spiralling out of control.”

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