Tennis star helps those affected: Zverev makes diabetes public

Alexander Zverev is diabetic.

Tennis star helps those affected: Zverev makes diabetes public

Alexander Zverev is diabetic. The world-class tennis player explains this and announces that he wants to help affected children with a foundation in the future. Zverev, who has not yet publicly addressed his illness, wants to be a role model.

There have been rumors for a long time, now Alexander Zverev is making his diabetes public. In the course of this he establishes a foundation to help children with the same fate. So far, the tennis star has not addressed his diabetes and kept it out of the public eye. The disease has accompanied him since he was four years old. Now he feels confident enough to tackle the issue aggressively.

For this project, the Olympic tennis champion created the "Alexander Zverev Foundation" based in his hometown of Hamburg. He receives support from his brother Mischa and his parents. Alexander Zverev announced this on Saturday. The main objective of the foundation: to help children suffering from diabetes (type 1). Above all by providing insulin and other essential medicines.

Zverev's commitment has a personal background. The tennis star has been suffering from the disease since he was four years old. He and his family learned to deal with it. "I'm in the privileged position of being able to live the life I've always wanted to lead. [...] I'm very aware that not all children are so fortunate and so it's very important to me to give something back and to help others on their way," says Zverev, explaining his commitment.

It had long been suspected in the tennis scene that Alexander Zverev had diabetes, but so far the second in the world rankings had avoided commenting on it. On the contrary, Zverev had reacted at least evasively to corresponding inquiries several times in the past. In 2016, when asked by an English reporter whether he was diabetic, the German world-class player replied: "Everything that was written there is not true. Everything in this news is absolutely made up." In 2019, Zverev was even confronted with allegations of cheating during the ATP Finals because he rummaged in his sports bag for an unusually long time during a change of sides - and possibly measured his insulin level.

Instead, critics had speculated that Zverev looked at his cell phone during the match and may have received illegal tips. "My cell phone was in the changing room," said Zverev afterwards: "I don't know exactly what you saw there, but it can't have been my cell phone. Maybe an empty drinking bottle, I don't know." At the time, he did not address his illness, which had now also been made official, but the ATP announced that the German had “not violated any ATP rule”.

Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which little or no insulin is produced in the patient's body. You need this to transport the sugar from the blood into the cells. Those affected have to take insulin, for example by injecting it. Most often, the disease occurs in childhood. With his initiative, Zverev wants to show "that you can make it very far with this disease. I want to be a role model for people who are already ill, but also be a support for the children who can still avoid it with an active life and the right prevention 'to get diabetes'. Type 1, as with Zverev, has not yet been cured, so those affected have to inject insulin for the rest of their lives.

In the future, donations will be collected through various events. The start is on August 21st. Then brother Mischa Zverev competes in a triathlon relay at the Allgäu Triathlon in Immenstadt together with double Olympic swimming champion Britta Steffen and the former Ukrainian professional cyclist Andriy Grivko. Alexander Zverev is currently fighting his way back to the professional tour after his serious foot injury in the semifinals of the French Open. It is currently still uncertain whether it will be enough for a start at the US Open, which begins at the end of the month.

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