Thiago Seyboth Wild speaks with CLAY: “Most people don’t know me off the court”
LONDON – Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild was a storm at Roland Garros. Tennis and extra-tennis storm, because after his great first-round victory over Russian Daniil Medvedev, a complex story of judicial background was installed in the international media.
“I think sometimes people misinterpret what we want to say,” said Seyborth Wild, 23, ranked 131st in the world, in an interview with CLAY in London, his first with an international media outlet.
“When they are not watching you, nor hearing you, they read whatever they want with the tone they want,” added the Brazilian, who reached the third round of the French Open showing a powerful and bold tennis.
The success of Seyboth, who arrived in Paris as the 172nd in the ranking, was overshadowed by a news that began to circulate while he was kicking Medvedev out of Paris with his forehand: an article by Brazilian journalist Alexandre Cossenza in the website UOL, dated October 27, 2021, in which he talked about domestic violence and a judicial investigation regarding a complaint by the influencer Thayane Lima, then partner of the tennis player.
No professional journalist could ignore that article published by one of the most influential media in Brazil, a story that had an added problem: after that 2021 publication, no relevant news about the case appeared in the search engines.
Is mandatory for tennis players to give a press conference after every match. This is the opportunity to ask them about what happened on the court or about any other topic. Jannik Schneider, a German journalist, put the question as politely and empathetically as possible. Seyboth Wild’s face was transfigured. He was noticeably deeply angry, something that was evident in his response.
“I don’t think it’s a subject we should be talking about here. I don’t think it’s a question you should be asking anyone. I don’t think it’s for you to decide whether to talk about it or not.”
Schneider answered the obvious: I’m just trying to get your side of the story. But the Brazilian didn’t budge: “You can write whatever you want. By the way, I was never married, was I? So leave that out.”
Rather more relaxed, though not without tension, Seyboth spoke to CLAY in Roehampton, in his first statements to an international media after the Parisian storm. While Novak Djokovic struggled in Paris match by match to win Roland Garros, the Brazilian took a plane to Rio de Janeiro and appeared in court.
“They never requested me to go to court, no,” Seyboth said when asked if he had appeared for a court summons.
“They wanted to subpoena me, that’s what happened, I presented myself, that’s it. I did. But I never went to court, I never had a court request.”
According to information from lawyers familiar with the case, which CLAY was able to obtain in Brazil, Lima obtained a restraining order against Seyboth Wild “and files a civil case against damages”.
“Those two were filed -the sources added-. This year, the Prosecutor’s Office filed a criminal claim against the tennis player and he was served noticed. This lawsuit is sealed, so it’s not possible to have access to the files. Apparently Seyboth Wild filed a civil claim against her too.”
What Seyboth insistently tried to install during the meeting with CLAY at the Roehampton Club is that he voluntarily presented himself to the competent authority. And what happened in that statement he gave?
“Nothing happened, I just told them I was alive, that I wasn’t hiding or anything. It’s not up to me anymore, it’s about Brazilian justice”.
What’s the story behind the allegation? What ‘s your side of the story? asked CLAY. The question didn’t sit well with the Brazilian.
“I think that’s not up to me to speak about. It’s in the Brazilian law, it will be judged by a jury. So it’s not my place to speak about it.”
In 2021, Seyboth Wild issued a statement in which he rejected his former partner’s accusations: “These false, fabricated, and vengeful claims are in no way a reflection of my character or actions.”
Would he say the same today?
“I stand by that.”
Did you claim innocence?
This question didn’t sit well with Seyboth either: “What sort of question is that? It’s not up to me to say whatever the judge says. It’s not in my hands.
That press conference in Paris left Seyboth Wild’s image in the international press in tatters. Does he thinks he did the right thing by responding so angrily and dryly to the German journalist and not explaining himself in the days that followed?
“Is that really up to me to say? I think you already have your own opinion.”
Seyboth Wild believes he is often misunderstood: “When they are not watching you, nor hearing you, they read whatever they want with the tone they want.”
The Brazilian declined to answer the question of whether the ATP asked him not to speak to the press at the press conferences after the first one following the win over Medvedev.
“Why don’t you ask the ATP that. I’m not answering that.”
The ATP contacted CLAY to reiterate its response from last month in Paris: “He fulfilled all the media requests he was asked for in Paris.”
The article in “O Globo”, in which Seyboth Wild is shown linking his maternal family to Nazism and Adolf Hitler himself, was also not a subject he wanted to elaborate on.
“It’s not up to me to talk about it. You keep asking the same questions over and over. I’ll keep giving you the same answers again.”
It’s just that the topic is important, it’s important to talk about it, CLAY argued. For the first time in the interview, Seyboth Wild agreed.
“Yes, I agree. Raising awareness about important issues is very important, we are public people, opinion makers. So I think we have to behave the right way and set the right example. I mean, on the court I have been doing it, off the court most people don’t know me. I don’t judge people, I don’t care what they want, what they do until I get to know them. So until I really get to know someone, it’s not my place to talk about them.”