‘Wow’: Zverev in second tense exchange with AO journalist after more questions about upcoming trial
Olympic champion Alexander Zverev snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a five-set marathon win over Lukas Klein.
In a see-sawing second-round encounter on John Cain Arena, Zverev was two points away from elimination when serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the fifth set, but held his nerve to oust the Slovakian qualifier 7-5 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (10-7).
The pair traded blows for four hours and 30 minutes, before the German star won out in a nail-biting super tiebreak.
“To be honest, he probably deserved to win the match more than me today,” Zverev said of the world No.163.
The German let out a scream after booking a third-round clash with American Alex Michelsen, who progressed to the last 32 with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 winner over Czech 32nd seed Jiri Lehecka.
After the win, though, Zverev was bemused when the only English-language question in Thursday’s post-match press conference centred on whether he planned to attend his May trial in Germany for alleged assault of former partner and mother of his child Brenda Patea in person.
The 26-year old came under scrutiny this week when German news outlets reported he would stand trial during the French Open, after he was ordered to pay fines of 450,000 Euros ($A750,000) over an alleged assault of a former partner last year.
The sixth seed contested the fines, forcing the case to trial, where he could face up to five years’ prison if found guilty.
“Regarding your upcoming trial, do you plan to attend in person?” the journalist asked.
“Wow. That’s a question,” Zverev replied.
“I just played four hours, 40 minutes – that’s not the first question I really want to hear, to be honest.”
“It’s the question I’m asking,” was the journalist’s response.
“I’ve got no idea. It’s in May,” Zverev finished.
It was the German’s second tense exchange with reporters at this Australian Open during post-match press conferences, with the majority of questions directed his way focussed on his court case rather than his matches.
He accused journalists covering the allegations against him as being ‘more about the clicks than the actual truth‘ following his first-round win over Dominik Koepfer, while defending his new position on the ATP player council.
With the majority of tennis stars asked about the latter claiming ignorance, the strongest stance against Zverev’s position came from Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion saying the WTA tour would ‘probably not’ allow someone facing a criminal trial to be involved, as the ATP have done.
“I think that the ATP kind of beats their own drum. Yeah, they do what they do on that side. Would that happen on the WTA Tour? Probably not,” Stephens said following her upset win over 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.
“He’s [Zverev’ going to trial, and he will be judged by his peers, and we will see what happens after that.
“It’s obviously a difficult situation, someone that is very prominent in our sport. I think now that he will be going to trial and be facing whatever he is facing can kind of put it to rest, whatever it is that happens.
“I think there’s a lot of speculation and allegations. I think at this point for the tour and for the fans it needs to be done with. I think that’s what will happen. People will get what they want whenever his trial is. We’ll just go from there.
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“I guess the ATP will then decide what they will do with their player after that.”
Zverev will play in-form American Alex Michelsen in the third round on Saturday (AEDT).