“The ATP does not have the faculty to judge Zverev”, says Players Council’s member Reyes-Varela

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Guilty or not. Only the court in Germany is the one that can give answers for the domestic violence trial that Alexander Zverev will face from May 26th. Before that, the ATP cannot judge him. Neither can his colleagues. That’s what Players Council’s tennis player Miguel Reyes-Varela says.

“If he is declared innocent, imagine if he were to be removed from the Council right now. It would be somewhat unfair, wouldn’t it? If they were to declare him guilty, measures will be taken,” Reyes-Varela tells CLAY in this interview.

The 36-year-old Mexican doubles player is Zverev’s colleague on the ATP Players’ Advisory Council. Both were elected by their peers to raise the voice of tennis players before the decision-makers on the men’s professional circuit.

Reyes-Varela does not shy away from talking about a topic that has been a big taboo for many players on the tour.

Interview with Miguel Reyes-Varela

– Where did your interest in joining the ATP Player Advisory Council come from?

– For me it is very nice, a special opportunity. It carries a great responsibility that I am delighted to assume because I am very passionate about tennis and its organization estructure. I value being able to make a small impact, to make decisions that affect the players and the tournaments. Actually, the whole tennis ecosystem is a world that has given me so much, that yes, to have this opportunity in which players voted for me, it feels nice. And we are few doubles representatives, only two.

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– This is not something new for you. You have been involved in organizational issues for several years.

– Yes, I have been involved in different things with the ATP, also at Challenger level I was part of a group with which we were looking for improvements for the tennis players. It is a tour that should not be forgotten. I like it, I am passionate about looking for improvements for my colleagues, for the benefit of the show, to create a better tour, to give a better experience to the fans, to help the sport to grow.

– Can you explain how the voting works to elect the Council representatives?

– There are twelve seats on the Council. Ten for players, one for a coaches’ representative (Federico Ricci), and one former player, a position currently held by Nicolás Pereira. Each player can vote, from a group of candidates, for a player to represent him according to his position in the ranking. In my case, I was elected to represent mainly the interests of doubles players ranked up to 75th. Wesley Koolhof focuses more on the top 25. In singles there are more representatives: (Grigor) Dimitrov, (Alexander) Zverev and (Mackenzie) McDonald represent the top 50; Pedro Martinez and Dusan Lajovic, from 51 to 100. And we have Pedro Cachin and Matt Ebden, “At Large” members, who represent them all. The Council participants are diversified in different geographic areas as well.

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The twelve representatives of the ATP Tour’s Players’ Advisory Council

– You represent North America, but also, being Latin American, don’t you plan to focus your energies for from Mexico to the south?

– Of course I do. I am a doubles player, but I will work for singles interests as well. On the geographic issue, of course I will take care of other areas. We are very clear about that as a group. Tennis in Latin America has given me a lot of opportunities, it has made me rise in the ranking with so many tournaments I have played throughout my career. In the end, the only thing we do as a Council is to try to represent the interests of the players and make that connection with the Board, which is where the changes are voted. There is no voting that is done at the Council, but it is important to convey the players’ feelings to the decision-makers, that our voices are heard.

– Did you follow tennis public opinion during the last Grand Slam? In Australia, shortly after the new Council members were announced, the conversation turned to the election of Alexander Zverev. His election was questioned because he was fined on domestic violence charges and at the end of May he will go to court to appeal that punishment. Are you interested in the issue? Have you discussed it with other Council members?

– Yes, yes I have asked the ATP about their position on the matter, what they knew or what information they had. I did that at the Australian Open, prior to the first session we had as a group. I wanted to know what the institution’s position was, and how they would act. The ATP told me that in the end there is a judicial process that Sascha himself will have to resolve, and we will see with the final verdict. If he is declared innocent, imagine if he were to be removed from the Council right now. It would be somewhat unfair, wouldn’t it? If he is found guilty, then the measures will be taken.

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Zverev said in Australia he sees no reason to step away from the Players’ Council

– Zverev sees no reason to leave the Players’ Council pending trial.

– I’m not sure about the details of the case, I don’t know enough. It’s wrong of me not to be more informed. I have not talked to Sasha personally. I don’t know him very well, from a meeting and a couple of details there I have seen that he does want to contribute to the Council and tennis issues. From the outside, I think that would be a personal decision, if for him, the work in the Council would take time and effort that he would not want to devote to concentrate fully on his career and deal with his situation off the court. If that were the case, then I think that would be his decision and I think everybody would accept it, right? But from there to us saying that he cannot be there or that he should be put on hold. I think it is not up to us.

– How do you think the ATP has managed the case?

– I understood clearly the message they gave me, and I think it will also be important to respect that. In the end, the ATP does not have the faculty to have judges to say if Alex is guilty or not. To temporarily suspend someone, a player, whether on court or off court, because of accusations… a legal process will be carried out and from there answers will come out, we will all have more clarity.


If you liked this interview with Mexican tennis player Miguel Reyes-Varela, don’t miss this link to our site, where you can find many other interviews with the great tennis stars.

COVER PHOTO: Miguel Reyes-Varela by Regina Cortina –

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