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Alexander Zverev winning the US Open will be a headache for men’s tennis

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Sport has a habit of sweeping things under the carpet when it suits. Look at soccer’s ruling body, FIFA, turning a blind eye to the deaths of 6,500 migrant workers who’ve been building stadiums for their World Cup in Qatar next year. Or those pro golfers conveniently forgetting their concern for widespread human-rights abuses to go pick up another paycheck for a tournament in Saudi Arabia. 

Tennis is no different. At the recent Olympics in Tokyo, Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili faced each other in the third round of the men’s singles competition and while Zverev prevailed and went on to win the gold medal, you would have been forgiven for not knowing that both men stand accused of domestic abuse from their former partners. The latter will soon face trial in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, for assaulting his ex-wife. 

The professional Tour’s governing body, the ATP, is finding it increasingly difficult to subdue this elephant in the room. While they can leave Basilashvili’s case to the courts for now, Zverev’s situation is a lot thornier. 

Aged 24, the German is the golden boy of men’s tennis and tipped to dominate the game once the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic finally move on into the sunset. Young, handsome and extremely talented, he has been front and center in the ATP’s promotional campaigns in recent years while also landing lucrative endorsements with the likes of Peugeot, Adidas, Rolex and Italian fashion house Zegna. Put simply, he is every inch the marketer’s dream. 

Alexander Zverev is accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.
Alexander Zverev is accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.
Getty Images for Hamburg Open

But in October 2020, Zverev’s ex-girlfriend, Olya Sharypova, accused him of physical and emotional abuse, alleging that before the 2019 US Open, Zverev tried to suffocate her with a pillow at the Lotte New York Palace. She said she managed to escape, leaving via the hotel’s rear entrance and running barefoot down the sidewalk until help arrived. 

“I really was scared for my life,” she told Racquet magazine. “I couldn’t breathe for some time.” 

Later, in a hotel room in Geneva, she claims Zverev punched her in the face in a fight so brutal that she later tried to take her own life by injecting insulin into her body, even though she wasn’t diabetic. Sharypova also accused him of stealing her passport so she couldn’t escape and return to her native Russia. 

“He made me feel that I don’t want to live anymore,” she said. 

So far, Sharypova has declined to press any charges, saying “I just want to say the truth.” 

Meanwhile, Zverev has “categorically and unequivocally ” denied the allegations. On Friday, he posted a statement on Twitter, saying: “I have engaged my German and American lawyers in the matter. They have already obtained a preliminary injunction against the source and the author who published the false allegations.” 

Nikoloz Basilashvili will soon face trial in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, for assaulting his ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili.
Nikoloz Basilashvili will soon face trial in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili.
Reuters; Instagram

For now, it’s his word against hers. 

Other sports might suspend players facing similar accusations until their innocence is clear. In November 2020, Ryan Giggs — the Welsh national team manager and former Manchester United star — stepped aside amid pressure from the Welsh Football Association after he was accused of assaulting two women. He will go on trial in January 2022 and denies the allegations. 

Meanwhile, what the ATP has issue two flimsy statements in nearly a year, neither of which mentioned Zverev or Basilashvili by name. 

At first, the body said it “fully condemned any form of violence or abuse.” Then it followed up, announcing a comprehensive review of its safeguarding policies and a desire to set “possible next steps across a range of safeguarding matters, including those pertaining to domestic violence.” 

That’s not good enough. 

As former world No. 1 Andy Murray said last year, the ATP should have a domestic abuse policy so they “know what to do in that situation, rather than having to think and react to it . . . they need to take it extremely seriously.” 

For now, the ATP is biding its time, hoping the legal system will figure out the mess. Basilashvili faces up to three years in prison or up to 400 hours of community service if he is found guilty of assaulting his ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili, in front of their 5 year-old son. 

But this approach won’t solve the Zverev problem. 

Complicating matters for the ATP is the German’s outstanding form. One of the favorites to win the US Open, starting this week, he arrives in New York on the back of winning Olympic gold and, last weekend, the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, the first player to achieve that feat since Andre Agassi in 1996. If he goes one better than last year, when he lost in the final, and lifts the trophy on Sept. 12, you can expect there to be significant disquiet. 

In the #MeToo era, a victory for the Tour’s favorite son could end up being very uncomfortable for the ATP. 

Gavin Newsham is a sports writer and the co-founder of Golf Punk magazine.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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