Innocence in question: Alexander Zverev's legal battle over domestic violence allegations

Monday, 17 June 2024 at 00:00
Although Alexander Zverev defends his innocence in the domestic violence case, he actually reached an out-of-court settlement with his ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea, leading to the case being dismissed. His ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter pressed charges accusing the German of attempting to strangle her in May 2020 when they were still together.
This isn't the first time Zverev has faced accusations of domestic violence. In 2020, his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova gave an interview to journalist Ben Rothenberg detailing physical and psychological abuse she allegedly suffered from the tennis player in 2019, which Zverev denied. Following an investigation, the ATP announced it found insufficient grounds to sanction Zverev.

Zverev settles legal dispute over domestic violence allegations

The world No. 4 is on a roll on the courts. Three weeks ago he won the Rome Open title, his first Masters 1000 in two years, after beating Chile's Nicolas Jarry in the final. Two weeks later, he was in the French Open final, finishing as runner-up after losing to Carlos Alcaraz.
During Sascha's participation in Roland Garros, there was significant interest as it was expected to mark the start of Zverev's trial in Berlin. However, they ultimately reached an out-of-court settlement nearing $200,000 to avoid the trial. Lawyers have declined to provide further details, leaving uncertainty about the verdict. The agreement stipulates $150,000 will go to the state and $50,000 to charitable causes, prompting the court to halt proceedings without announcing a verdict on whether Zverev is guilty or not.
During the French Open, a journalist asked Zverev about the case, and the 27-year-old tennis player responded irritably, stating he would no longer address the topic: "That's what dropping the case is. That is innocence. They're not going to drop the case if you're guilty at the end of the day. I don't know what translations you have, but that's what it means. Done. We move on. I never ever want to hear another question about the subject again. That goes out to everybody."
However, the court hasn't actually declared Zverev innocent, as the trial was interrupted due to the settlement. It's still unclear whether, in addition to the $200,000 agreed upon, the player will have to pay any additional amount to his ex-girlfriend.
Alexander Zverev at 2024 Roland Garros final.

Innocence at stake

In October 2023, Zverev was fined 450,000 euros by the Tiergarten District Court for being found guilty of physical assault against his ex-girlfriend Patea, for events that occurred in May 2020 in Berlin.
Despite the verdict issued by the Berlin Prosecutor's Office, Zverev insisted on his innocence and through his defense, lodged an objection to have the conviction overturned as detailed by The Guardian. "The procedure is scandalous, there can be no question of a fair, constitutional procedure. Mr. Zverev will take action against this using all possible means," stated the tennis player's lawyer, Schertz Bergman, in October 2023.
The trial was supposed to take place two weeks ago, amid the French Open, but Zverev reached an out-of-court settlement, leading the court to dismiss the case against him. The settlement involved a fine of 200,000 euros, representing a reduction of $250,000 compared to the initial fine in 2023
This wouldn't have happened if the court had accepted Zverev's innocence. If so, the court would have upheld Zverev's initial objection and declared him innocent in the trial. However, they agreed to terminate the proceedings through a settlement.
According to Sportskeeda, Zverev's fatherhood may have influenced the decision to reach a settlement. The German has a three-year-old daughter with Patea, and the court may have considered the child's well-being in closing the case and avoiding overexposure of the minor, considering Zverev is a public figure and shares custody with his ex-girlfriend. Katharina Dierlamm, one of Zverev's lawyers, commented, "This is for the good of the child they have together, so she has the chance to grow up without conflict."
On the other hand, Kristin Hartmann, one of Brenda Patea's lawyers, commented in an interview with DW that they sought the settlement to achieve a quicker resolution of the process: "We applied for the settlement," Hartmann said. "The daughter was really suffering. So now they can both look to the future and get on with their lives. We ended this deal with [the feeling] that people should stop throwing things at each other."

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