In a press release that was released Friday evening, the ATP has announced a safeguarding review. The statement comes after many were disappointed in their handling of the domestic violence cases of tour players Alexander Zverev and Nikoloz Basilahvili.
After the harrowing accounts of Zverev's ex-girlfriend Olya Sharypova by Ben Rothenberg of Racquet Magazine, the ATP released a statement.
"The ATP fully condemns any form of violence or abuse. We expect all members of the Tour to do the same, and to refrain from any conduct that is violent, abusive, or puts others at risk. In circumstances where allegations of violence or abuse are made against any member of the Tour, legal authorities investigate and due process is applied, we then review the outcome and decide the appropriate course of action. Otherwise, we are unable to comment further on specific allegations."
At the time, the ATP did not have a domestic abuse policy like other major sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, and NFL.
"The ATP has announced a comprehensive review of safeguarding policies, in line with a commitment to ensure all adults and minors involved in professional tennis are safe and protected from abuse. The review has been led by the commissioning of an independent report, currently being compiled by a team of expert consultants.
To date, ATP has typically deferred to legal authorities in cases of abuse before determining if further internal action is warranted under the ATP Code of Conduct. The report is expected to set out a number of recommendations to elevate safeguarding across the organisation and identify opportunities for more proactive involvement. Following its completion, ATP will evaluate its recommendations and possible next steps across a range of safeguarding matters, including those pertaining to domestic violence.
Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO, said: “Abuse has a profound and lasting impact on millions of victims each year. We believe everyone in tennis should feel protected, fairly represented, and supported in raising concerns. When abusive conduct or allegations are related to any member of the tennis family it can also impact the public’s trust in our sport. We recognise that we have a responsibility to be doing more.
“This represents new ground for us, and the seriousness and complexity of these issues will require us to proceed with care. We have to be sure that any policies are practical and enforceable across our sport, which operates in more than 30 different legal jurisdictions and where players compete as independent contractors. Collaboration with the WTA, ITF and the four Grand Slams will also be important in order to serve the wider tennis community.”