Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the latest headline for Andy Murray.
Look, at this point we’re grasping at straws a bit here because we normally should have had our Roland-Garros preview out today.
But of course, just like it did last year, French Open organizers decided to postpone this year’s event. The reason for the switch? The clear and stated goal was to sell more tickets than they otherwise would have been able to.
Who has the best odds for Roland-Garros?
This extra time was the perfect occasion for us to ponder a few things over. We noticed, notably, that the odds for this year’s men’s event have come out and favour Rafael Nadal overwhelmingly.
How so? Well, the odds from SportsBettingDime.com has Rafael Nadal as the player with the best odds (-118) to retain his French Open title. We may see an encore at this year’s final, with the Serb Novak Djokovic listed as the second favourite (at +375) to win the event. Next up are Dominic Thiem (+600), Stefanos Tsitsipas (+800) and Alexander Zverev (+1800), and so on down the list.
One name who does not figure on the list is that of Andy Murray. But still, he’s the one we want to discuss in this space this week; in a way, it’s related to Zverev so it makes sense.
Men’s tennis needs a domestic abuse policy
What exactly, in 2021, is the link between the Brit and the German? Well, let’s back up a bit here and bring you up to speed. Let’s look back at November 2020 and the alleged “hell” that Zverev had forced his ex-girlfriend to endure.
The point here isn’t to relitigate what the 24-year-old professional tennis player might or might not have done (though it would be a nice change of pace from the nothing that has happened in the time since). But let’s bring in Murray now, because he can explain it better than we ever could. “I have read some stuff, and obviously tennis doesn’t have a domestic abuse policy. That is something we as a sport should be looking into, so the ATP know what to do in that situation, rather than having to think and react to it,” Murray said at the time. “They can be a bit more proactive in a situation like that. They need to take it extremely seriously and see what comes of it in the coming months.”
Well the coming months have come and gone and have been defined by a definite lack of action. Zverev has mostly kept playing, alternating between winning and losing the big matches as he always does, and having the luxury of outrunning the allegations. The ATP, meanwhile, hasn’t done anything, but maybe it should have.
Playing tennis is a privilege, not a right
It’s pretty damning that one of the brighter stars of the sport, a longstanding member of its elite Top 10, has been dogged by accusations of domestic abuse. But it’s also pretty damning to see the governing body of the sport essentially sit on its hands and say that, nope this is too thorny and complicated to do anything about it. We’re not asking the ATP to fix domestic violence, merely to throw its hat in the ring and show they won’t tolerate it instead of only saying it.
We’re simply asking the ATP to do something when one of its star independent contractors faces credible accusations. Whether they like it or not, every time Zverev steps on a tennis court and plays in an event, he represents the ATP; it’s about time the governing body realizes it too. Much to Roger Federer’s chagrin, it’s not right to explain inaction by the fact that this allegation is part of someone’s private life. Because when you’re a professional tennis player, you live a deeply public life every single day.
In short, we’re not asking the ATP to fix the world, we’re merely asking it to listen to Murray’s advice.
See you next week for Roland-Garros. Finally.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG