LONDON – A major independent investigation into Alexander Zverev has found insufficient evidence to substantiate published allegations of abuse. As a result, no disciplinary action will be taken by ATP.
Commissioned by ATP in October 2021, the investigation looked into allegations of domestic abuse made by Zverev’s former girlfriend, Olya Sharypova. While the primary focus of the investigation related to alleged abuses taking place at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Shanghai in 2019, its scope also included purported misconduct in other locations, including Monaco, New York and Geneva, as referenced in public reporting.
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The investigation was carried out by The Lake Forest Group (LFG), a third-party investigator, led by founder and chief executive G. Michael Verden and Jennifer Mackovjak. Both Verden and Mackovjak are licensed private investigators with more than 60 years of combined experience in the field, including in professional sports. LFG was directed to conduct the investigation in a fully independent manner, with ATP’s outside legal counsel, Smith Hulsey & Busey, serving as an intermediary. ATP assisted with access to information and witnesses as requested.
LFG conducted extensive interviews with both Sharypova and Zverev, and 24 other individuals including family and friends, tennis players, and other parties involved with the ATP Tour. The investigation reviewed submissions by both Sharypova and Zverev, including text messages, audio files, and photos. This included materials voluntarily extracted from Zverev’s electronic devices via a third-party forensic expert. LFG also reviewed operational records related to the Shanghai tournament, documents submitted by third-party witnesses, and public records including social media posts and press reports.
Following an exhaustive 15-month process, LFG submitted its full report to ATP. Based on a lack of reliable evidence and eyewitness reports, in addition to conflicting statements by Sharypova, Zverev and other interviewees, the investigation was unable to substantiate the allegations of abuse, or determine that violations of ATP’s On-Site Offenses or Player Major Offenses rules took place.
As a result, no disciplinary action against Zverev will be taken by ATP. This determination may however be reevaluated should new evidence come to light, or should any legal proceedings reveal violations of ATP rules. Zverev has consistently denied all allegations and supported ATP’s investigation.
Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO: “The seriousness and complexity of these allegations required an extremely thorough investigative process and considerable resources. It also required us to turn to specialist investigators, which was new ground for ATP. We ultimately believe the exhaustive process was necessary to reach an informed judgement. It has also shown the need for us to be more responsive on safeguarding matters. It is the reason we’ve taken steps in that direction, with a lot of important work still ahead.”
In October 2021, ATP commissioned an Independent Safeguarding Report, to ensure all adults and minors involved in men’s professional tennis are safe and protected from abuse. A hiring process has recently been completed to appoint a dedicated head of Safeguarding, who will oversee implementation of the report’s recommendations.
ATP Communications contributed to this report