A trial on charges of bodily harm against tennis professional Alexander Zverev began on Friday at the Berlin-Tiergarten district court. The 27-year-old is accused of pushing his former girlfriend Brenda Patea against a wall and choking her with both hands during a heated argument in May 2020.

Patea then fled the house in which she had rented an apartment and where the incident is said to have occurred. She then suffered pain and had difficulty swallowing for several days. The Berlin District Court issued a penal order against Zverev in the matter in October 2023 and imposed a fine of 450,000 euros.

Since Zverev appealed against the penalty order, the trial now took place before the Berlin District Court. The tennis professional himself was not present in person on the first day of the trial. Since this is a penalty order procedure, this was not necessary and was not ordered by the court. Zverev is currently taking part in the French Open.

His defense rejected the accusation on Friday. It was based on allegations, was not reliable and contradictory. The criminal complaint, filed one and a half years after the alleged incident, was linked to a custody and maintenance dispute over their daughter and the revelation of the relationship between Zverev and his new girlfriend Sophia Thomalla.

Posts on social media that Patea published shortly after the alleged crime also indicated that the mood between her and Zverev was good and relaxed, the defense said. There were no signs of disharmony, nor any signs of injuries to the complainant’s neck.