Written by Sam Goodwin. This article originally appeared on Yahoo Sports Australia.
Alexander Zverev has been savaged by the tennis media after a poorly-timed joke about not having a girlfriend at the US Open.
The German star extended his winning streak to 15 matches on Monday, breezing past Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-4 7-6 (9-7).
Zverev started his winning streak at the Tokyo Olympics where he won gold, before also winning the Cincinnati Masters in the lead-up to the US Open.
He was asked about the gold medal triumph in his on-court interview on Monday and whether or not he wears it in private.
“I cuddle with it at night," he said, before putting his foot in it.
"I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t have anybody next to me, so the gold medal obviously sleeps next to me instead, which is very good.”
Fans and journalists were left shocked by the girlfriend comment, especially considering the disturbing allegations he is currently facing.
Disturbing allegations against Alexander Zverev
Zverev was again forced to deny domestic abuse allegations last month when a former girlfriend made more sickening claims against him.
Olga Sharypova first made the accusations last year and provided a new, detailed account recently via a Slate.com article.
Sharypova, herself a former tennis player, alleged last year that Zverev had attempted to strangle her with a pillow and hit her head against a wall at a New York hotel before the US Open in 2019.
She said she feared for her life at the time and later attempted suicide.
However Zverev has vehemently denied the claims and launched legal action.
"I've always said that the allegations and everything that has been said is untrue. The court confirmed that," Zverev said at the news conference ahead of the US Open.
"So there's nothing else to say from my side because, as I said, the court confirmed that it's untrue."
Zverev was granted a preliminary injunction in Germany against the author and publisher of the allegations.
"The court followed our arguments and states, the accusations are defamatory and false," his statement said.
Nevertheless, fans and commentators were quick to condemn Zverev for making light of the fact he doesn't currently have a girlfriend, especially considering the cloud hanging over his head.
Re-posting Zverev's comments, journalist James Gray tweeted: “You couldn’t make it up.”
Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports wrote: “You know maybe Alexander Zverev shouldn’t make jokes about not having a girlfriend all things considered.”
you know maybe alexander zverev shouldn't make jokes about not having a girlfriend all things considered
— Liz Roscher (@lizroscher) September 6, 2021
Zverev on court after beating Sinner: "I don't have a girlfriend so the gold medal sleeps next to me instead."
You couldn't make it up.#USOpen
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) September 6, 2021
Oh my God...Zverev joking with Brad Gilbert about not having a girlfriend and sleeping beside his gold medal in his hotel room...CRINGE. what are you guys doing!?!? #USOpen#USOpen2021@BenRothenberg https://t.co/XaGUO6wMSl
— Erin Lord Kunz (@LordKunz) September 6, 2021
Zverev joking about not having a girlfriend while concerning allegations of domestic abuse of his ex-gf abound is … an interesting choice.
— Christine (@PhillyEaglesGal) September 6, 2021
Gotta say, pretty gross to have Zverev on court during the post match interview joking about sleeping with the gold medal because he doesn’t have a girlfriend when we know the history with his ex-girlfriend
— michael (@mef_57) September 6, 2021
Ok it was gross to listen to Alexander Zverev joke about not having a girlfriend or someone to cuddle at night in his post match interview @usopen. It’s amazing how little the domestic abuse allegations against him get discussed on @espn https://t.co/84gZ4EqA8c
— Nathan Brady 🏳️🌈🐬🏳️🌈 (@ercnat1) September 6, 2021
Zverev joking about not having a girlfriend in that post match interview is in, at best, questionable taste… #USOpen
— Guy Adams (@guyadams) September 6, 2021
That's disgusting Ben. It's not media's job to settle these sort of accusations. Are you in fact trying to distract Zverev here to effect outcome of the tournament? If so, then you don't deserve your job.
— David Lightman (@David__Lightman) September 6, 2021