Tennis Olympic champion Alexander Zverev has made his longstanding diabetes public. At the age of four, the native of Hamburg was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. “As a little boy I didn’t give it much thought, later more and more. I want to show that you can go a long way with this disease,” said Zverev on Saturday and at the same time announced the establishment of his foundation “Alexander Zverev Foundation – Aufschlag gegen Diabetes”.
“Now, many years later and also with the success behind me, I feel comfortable and confident enough to go public with this initiative,” said the native of Hamburg. He wants to be a role model for people who are already ill, but also a support for the children “who can still avoid getting diabetes with an active life and the right prevention”.
In addition to providing insulin and other essential medicines, his foundation finances projects for affected children and young people. “I’m in the privileged position of living the life I’ve always wanted to live. I always wanted to play tennis, travel to tournaments around the world and be among the best tennis players in the world. The fact that I was able to do that is mainly thanks to my parents and my brother, who always supported me unconditionally on my way there and still do so today,” said the 25-year-old.
He is currently working on his return to the field after suffering a serious ligament injury in rehab. He is aware that not all children are so lucky and “therefore it is very important to me to give something back and to help other affected people on their way”.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease, which means that the body can hardly or no longer produce any insulin. Type 1, as with Zverev, has not yet been cured, so those affected have to inject insulin for the rest of their lives.