Fight breaks out between Tennis Europe CEO and Ukrainian Tennis Federation secretary
Police were called to a Tennis Europe meeting after Ukraine Tennis Federation secretary Evgeniy Zukin struck Tennis Europe Chief Executive Thomas Hammerl for taking a “disgracefully weak” stance on Russia’s invasion.
In the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Tennis Europe board meeting was held to discuss which sanctions and punishments should be taken.
It was announced via a Zoom video call that junior events in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine would be suspended, but Ukraine Tennis secretary Evgeniy Zukin went on to describe this decision as “disgracefully weak.”
This came amidst wide-spread calls to take firm action and ban Russia and Belarus from national competitions, withdraw Russian and Belarusian tournaments and make Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under a neutral flag.
However, Zukin’s main issue came when Tennis Europe urged “the international tennis community to show solidarity to players from the nations concerned, none of whom should be punished or blamed for the actions taken by the regimes in their home countries.”
Such failure to condemn Russia’s military invasion left Zukin feeling failed and caused him to take his frustrations into his own hands when he started an altercation at a dinner later that day.
Zukin described his actions to The Telegraph, where he said “I read the statement, finished my dinner, stood up, turned around, saw him [Hammerl] sitting five tables near me, and asked him ‘How come you could do this?’
“He said ‘Go away’. [So] I gave him a light slap and walked away.”
The police were called to the Club Mega Saray in Antalya, Turkey and Zukin was subsequently taken to the police station where he issued an apology and said he “overreacted.” However, he could still face a disciplinary action from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Regarding any further disciplinary charges, the Ukrainian said he “doesn’t care” about any charge against him.
He said “the statement in which Tennis Europe puts Russia and Belarus in one line, and talks about suspending tournaments, is an absolute disgrace. If someone wants to put a disciplinary charge against me, I am fine. I don’t care.”
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