Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 7 of the 2021 US Open.
The time for action is any day, really.
It’s been well over a week (by the time we’re writing this) that journalist Ben Rothenberg published with Slate a follow-up into allegations that Alexander Zverev had abused his ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova. We really suggest reading the piece in full. It’s a thorough and complete reported piece. You may remember that Rothenberg had also published something last year at Racquet Magazine about how Zverev had abused the same ex-girlfriend.
In the time between the two reported pieces, the ATP has done exactly…nothing.
What’s the solution?
Look, there’s no point in denying that this is all a problem. Here’s where you’re wondering what can be done exactly. We’d answer that we’re not sure either, but that the solution sure as hell isn’t to do (or, not do) whatever it is that the governing body has done since. The solution surely isn’t to keep parading one of the highest-ranked players in the sport on any and every social media platform and to keep putting its head in the sand. The solution isn’t to issue a random, vague and nonspecific statement last November that makes no mention of Zverev himself.
We’ll be the first to say that this is a thorny and tricky issue. That seeing a professional body like the ATP immerse itself in the private lives of its players is a bridge too far. But it would be great if the ATP could address this directly at some point. If the ATP could understand the optics of promoting someone like Zverev, against whom very serious allegations have stuck for close to a year now, this would be a nice first step.
The other side of the story
You’ll probably notice, here, that we haven’t mentioned anything that Zverev has done or said. In fact, he’s both vehemently denied the stories and accusations and has said that he supports the ATP introducing a domestic violence policy.
We’ll also mention that there is really no way to know the truth here. But we know that as many as 463,634 people are victims of sexual assault every year in the United States. We know that someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. We know that the vast majority of them are never reported to authorities.
Above all, we know that we don’t know much. But we know that it costs us nothing to say that we believe what Sharypova is saying.
Day 7 preview
You’re used to it by now, we’re closing today’s preview with three singles matches we’ve chosen to highlight and briefly discuss as among the day’s bests. As always, find the full day 7 schedule right here.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Simona Halep  vs Elina Svitolina  (First match of the day)
Look, we’re not saying this is a must-win for either player here, but the occasion is primed for a run for whomever moves on to the fourth round. While Simona Halep has traditionally done rather poorly in Flushing Meadows, a win here would give her her best US Open result since 2015. As for Elina Svitolina, the last time she competed in New York she made the semifinals. No pressure.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Leylah Fernandez vs Angelique Kerber  (Second match of the day)
What Leylah Fernandez accomplished in the third round in defeating Naomi Osaka by the final score of 5-7, 7-6(2) and 6-4 is astonishing. Now she gets to showcase if she can do it all again against Angelique Kerber, yet another US Open former champion.
Grandstand: Peter Gojowczyk vs Carlos Alcaraz (Not before 5pm local time)
In lieu of an actual match preview, we’ll simply cut to footage of Carlos Alcaraz in the process of taking down Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG