Daria Gavrilova calls out Alexander Zverev over alleged treatment of former girlfriend Olga...

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Daria Gavrilova, a former top-20 player from Australia, has become the first tennis professional to call out world No 7 Alexander Zverev over his alleged treatment of ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova. In a series of interviews and social-media posts over the last fortnight, Sharypova has accused Zverev of domestic abuse – including choking her with a pillow at the 2019 US Open and punching her in the face at the Laver Cup event that followed shortly after. Zverev responded with an Instagram post on Oct 29 in which he said, “the accusations are simply not true”. When the subject was raised at press conferences during last week’s Paris Masters event, he referred reporters back to that statement. Then, when he finished as the runner-up in Paris, he used his presentation speech to send a message to his critics. “There's gonna be a lot of people that try to wipe the smile off my face,” said Zverev. “But under this mask I'm smiling brightly.” Gavrilova addressed the subject during a guest appearance on the Jules on the Hustle podcast. “I was just a bit scared for her [Sharypova] that everyone would attack her for coming out and saying things, and telling the story publicly,” said Gavrilova. “I made all these hashtags, like ‘I believe her’, because I think you have to believe a woman,” added Gavrilova. “So many times, males... not get away with it, but people just say, ‘blame the victim’, or they say, ‘Okay, now she is after his money’. But you know, how can you make up a story like that? So I thought, she needs someone to support her. And I thought, I haven’t seen anyone say anything. And I love Sascha [Zverev]. And when I saw his statement, I was like, ‘Come on, you’re better than that’.” Gavrilova shares Russian ancestry with Zverev but moved to Australia in her early 20s. Her own ranking has dropped below 400 since a lengthy injury break, extending almost from the 2019 US Open to the recent French Open, that was caused by an Achilles tendon problem and other foot-related injuries. “I also know her,” said Gavrilova of Sharypova, although it was clear that the two women had not spoken about the case and that these comments were general observations rather than an inside story. “We actually played tennis growing up in the same club and at one stage we had the same coach. I remember her as a little girl.” Meanwhile, Zverev’s elder brother, Mischa, made an appearance on Sky Sports Germany on Monday night. “Life is surprising sometimes,” Mischa Zverev said. “We have to deal with some things now. We try to stick together as a family and to find the right solution. I just try to be the bigger brother and stand by his side."

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