Zverev settles domestic abuse case amid French Open final run: ‘Does not constitute a finding of guilt or an admission of guilt’


Tennis star Alexander Zverev has settled a domestic abuse case after reaching an out-of-court settlement with his former partner, who accused him of assaulting her.

A district court in Berlin ended the trial on Friday with the agreement of state prosecutors and lawyers for Zverev and his former partner Brenda Patea, just hours before the German player was due to play Casper Ruud in the French Open semi-final.

Zverev agreed to pay fines of 150,000 euros ($A246,000) to the state and 50,000 euros ($A82,000) to charitable organisations, ending the case on the same day he secured his second ever Grand Slam final berth with a four-sets win over Casper Ruud in his French Open semi-final.

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Zverev, the world No.4, was facing a charge of causing bodily harm to Patea during an argument in Berlin in May 2020. Prosecutors alleged he pushed her against a wall and choked her. Zverev always denied any wrongdoing.

The matter came to trial after Zverev contested a penalty order issued last October, including a requirement for him to pay fines amounting to 450,000 euros ($A738,000). 

Penalty orders are used in Germany as a means of resolving some criminal cases without going to trial if the suspect does not contest the order.

Judge Barbara Luders told the court she was dropping the case after lawyers for Zverev and Patea held talks in recent days about ending their disputes “at all levels in which there were disagreements in recent years.”

The former couple wanted to end their public feud and “look forwards,” also in regard to “their joint custody of their child,” Luders said.

Zverev indicated before the ongoing French Open that he was confident he would be cleared. 

“At the end of the day, I do believe in the German system. I do believe in the truth, as well,” he said.

Zverev did not appear before the court. Patea testified as a witness in a session that was closed to the public.

Zverev’s lawyers, Anna Sophie Heuchemer and Katharina Dierlamm, issued a statement after the case was dropped stressing their client’s presumption of innocence. 

“Alexander Zverev agreed to this discontinuation through his defence attorney solely to shorten the proceedings — above all in the interest of their child. Alexander Zverev is still considered innocent,” Heuchemer and Dierlamm said. 

“The discontinuation does not constitute a finding of guilt or an admission of guilt. The legal presumption of innocence remains unaffected.”

Zverev previously denied abuse allegations from another former girlfriend, Olga Sharypova, who first made the accusations in 2020 and followed up in 2021 with a detailed account in a Slate.com article that was taken down because of a preliminary injunction issued by a German court. Slate said it stood by the article.

Sharypova accused Zverev of attempted to strangle her with a pillow and hitting her head against a wall at a New York hotel in 2019. She said she feared for her life. 

The allegations prompted the men’s professional tennis tour, the ATP, to investigate her claims. It ended 15 months later in January 2023 with the ATP saying there was “insufficient evidence ” to substantiate the claims.

The governing body of men’s tennis said it had taken note of Friday’s development and was reviewing the information.

“The ATP is aware of the settlement in the case involving Alexander Zverev,” the ATP said in a statement.

“We note both parties’ desire to consider this matter as concluded. Separately, we are gathering and reviewing all information disclosed via the legal process.”

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