Alex Zverev reaches High Court settlement with tennis management firm ACE after legal wrangle over attempt to tie him to 16-year deal – with world No 7 now represented by Roger Federer’s Team8
- Alex Zverev’s High Court battle with ACE management settled on Thursday
- ACE had represented him since a teenager and wanted him to sign 16-year deal
- Zverev is now represented by Team8 – who also work with Roger Federer
The controversial year of Alex Zverev wound up in London‘s High Court on Thursday, with the world No 7 positioning himself as a champion of young players’ rights.
The 23-year-old German reached a settlement with his former management firm ACE Group after a two-year wrangle resulting from his exit from their representation contract.
It follows a season that saw him reach the US Open final, play in the summer’s notorious Adria Tour and be the subject of domestic violence claims from a former girlfriend, which he denies.
Alexander Zverev leaves the High Court in London on Thursday after the settlement
Standing outside the Rolls Building off London’s Fetter Lane, Zverev said that he and his brother, fellow pro Mischa, would now offer advice to younger players on how to prevent them falling into similar disputes with agents.
‘I’ve talked about it with Mischa for some time now, we want to help the next generation a bit,’ said Zverev.’ The parents of younger kids, give them advice on how to operate with management and set up management deals. Look out for themselves before managers can take advantage.’
His representatives had maintained that agent Patricio Apey had wanted to tie him to a 16-year deal, which they had not fully understood.
‘It’s an extreme sense of relief, we have been dealing with this for two years now,’ said Zverev, ‘it’s nice to know that I don’t have to wake up on a Monday morning and talk to these guys (his lawyers). It has been on my mind – my lack of performance in 2019, this was a big factor in it. I’m happy to be released from that.
‘All the greats have to go through some issues and I hope this will move me closer to where I want to go on the court.’
Zverev’s Solicitor, Mark Stephens, described the contract as ‘onerous and unenforceable’: ‘The case stands as a salutary warning to all young sports people everywhere to get wise professional advice before signing onerous contracts which may be expensive to extract themselves from,’ he said.
Zverev shakes hands with Novak Djokovic after being beaten in London last month
A statement on behalf of ACE Group – who used to manage Andy Murray – responded that it had brought in $40million of commercial endorsements for the player and helped finance his fledgling career.
‘It is sad that a successful working partnership which lasted so long has ended this way and that, unfortunately, many of those deals secured by ACE are no longer in place,’ it read. ‘ACE Group and in particular, Patricio Apey, is proud to have helped nurture and initially finance Alexander Zverev’s tennis career when he was 825 in the world and negotiated so many lucrative commercial deals for the player. We wish him well for the future.’
The German is now represented by Team8, which looks after the affairs of Roger Federer, who is also a shareholder in the business.
Many in the tennis world are intrigued to see how Federer, who zealously guards his image, handles his close association with Zverev, given the ongoing controversy over the abuse allegations. The German accompanied Federer as his opponent on an exhibition tour of South America just over a year ago.
Zverev, who was accompanied in court by his brother and parents, later said that he would now turn his attention to 2021, although like everyone he is still unclear about how the calendar will pan out around the delayed Australian Open.
‘We are still waiting with Australia, we don’t know the final details,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘I will go back to Monaco and start training, prepare for next season the best way I can.’