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Olympic tennis champion Zverev reveals diabetes illness

Published August 06,2022
Alexander Zverev of Germany celebrates after winning his gold medal match against Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee. (REUTERS File Photo)
Germany's Olympic tennis champion Alexander Zverev revealed Saturday he has long had type one diabetes and has created a foundation to help others battle the disease.

Zverev, was diagnosed at the age of four.

"When I was a little boy I didn't think much about it, but later I thought more and more about it," he said. "I want to show that you can go a long way with this disease.

"Now, many years later and also with success behind me, I feel comfortable and confident enough to go public with this initiative."

Zverev wants to be a role model for people who already have the disease, 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 vital medicines, his foundation finances projects for affected children and young people.

"I am in the privileged situation of living a life I always wanted to live. I always wanted to play tennis, travel to tournaments around the globe and be one of the best tennis players in the world.

"The fact that I succeeded in doing that is mainly thanks to my parents and my brother, who always supported me unconditionally on my way there and still do today," said the 25-year-old, who is currently working on his comeback a serious ankle ligament injury.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes the body to produce little or no insulin. Type one, as in Zverev's case, is not yet curable, so that those affected have to inject insulin for the rest of their lives.