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German tennis player Zverev agrees to settle assault case

Jonathan Crane at Tiergarten District Court
June 7, 2024

German tennis player Alexander Zverev has reached an out-of-court settlement with his ex-girlfriend in an assault case, with no admission of guilt from his side. Lawyers have not revealed details of the deal.

Alexander Zverev lifts his racquet during a match at the French Open
Alexander Zverev has been playing in the French Open during the trialImage: Kyodo/picture alliance

Alexander Zverev has reached an out-of-court settlement with his ex-girlfriend, who said he had strangled her in the stairwell of an apartment building in May 2020, it was revealed at the Berlin criminal court on Friday.

What do we know about the settlement? 

Announcing the agreement, the sole presiding judge, Barbara Lüders, said the proceedings had been "discontinued" without a verdict.

Zverev, the reigning Olympic champion, agreed to pay a court-imposed fee of €200,000 ($218,000) within a month in exchange for having the case discontinued. Of this, €150,000 goes to the state, while €50,000 is for charitable causes.

"I think it's important to continue living without any further blame," Lüders told the court. "That is what has been agreed here. It's a good ending, it's a success."

Lüders said that the settlement had been instigated by the ex-girlfriend's lawyers on Monday evening after the second day of the trial, during which she had started giving her testimony behind closed doors.

Under the agreement, there is no admission of guilt by Zverev.

Lawyers not providing details of deal

Both his lawyers and lawyers representing the ex-girlfriend declined to give details of the settlement, including whether there was a financial component.

The case had gone to trial because Zverev, who reached the French Open final in Paris later on Friday, was contesting a penalty order and fine of €450,000 that were issued in October last year in relation to the alleged incident.

In the charge, which he denied, Zverev had been accused of "physically abusing a woman and damaging her health during an argument." The woman is also the mother of his child, a young daughter.

On Friday, the court heard how that latter fact played an important role in the decision to come to a settlement.

Defense lawyers in the case Katharina Dierlamm and Alfred Dierlamm
Zverev's lawyers said a settlement was necessary because Zverev and his ex-girlfriend have a childImage: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

"We are happy that an agreement has been reached," Katharina Dierlamm, one of Zverev's criminal defense lawyers, told the court. "This is for the good of the child that they have together, so it has the chance to grow up without conflict."

A statement released through Zverev's media lawyers at the law firm Schertz Bergmann said: "Alexander Zverev has agreed to this discontinuation via his defense lawyer, solely in order to shorten the proceedings, above all in the interests of their child. Alexander Zverev is considered innocent."

Ex-girlfriend's lawyers told DW they didn't want trial to drag on

Speaking to DW outside the courtroom, the ex-girlfriend's lawyers said that they wanted to avoid the trial dragging on for months.

"We applied for the settlement," Kristin Hartmann, one of the lawyers, confirmed. "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."

The media and public were allowed back into the court to hear Lüders announce the discontinuation of proceedings. They had been shut out of the trial following a successful request by Zverev's lawyers to have the ex-girlfriend's testimony heard behind closed doors. She had been due to be cross-examined today.

On the first day of the trial on May 31, Alfred Dierlamm, another of Zverev's lawyers, had portrayed the ex-girlfriend as a liar who was motivated by fame and fortune. The trial was then adjourned before she had the chance to testify in public.

On Friday, Michael Nitschke, another of the ex-girlfriend's lawyers, rejected the notion that she was only interested in money.

"She is not money-hungry," Nitschke said. "That is simply not true. This will no longer be discussed. We have sorted everything out that needed to be sorted out, and everyone is happy."

Edited by: Wesley Dockery