French Open: “I’m back”: Zverev between aggressiveness and cancellation

French Open
“I’m back”: Zverev between aggressiveness and rejection

Alexander Zverev failed in the semifinals of the French Open. photo

© Jean-Francois Badias/AP/dpa

Despite the semifinals, Alexander Zverev will look at the pictures from Paris “overjoyed”. The Olympic champion counts himself among the long-term title contenders again. First, however, he is slowed down.

Alexander Zverev said goodbye to Paris aggressively. A year after his injury shock, the Olympic champion finally sees himself ready for the next attempts for the long-awaited first Grand Slam triumph.

However, he has to postpone the start of the short season on the little-loved lawn before Wimbledon after the painful semi-final due to a thigh injury. “Unfortunately, my physical condition doesn’t allow it now,” said the 26-year-old one day after the match about his final cancellation for the preparatory tournament in Stuttgart, which had already been indicated the evening before.

After repeated inquiries, Zverev revealed that he suffered a slight strain in the last training session before the unexpectedly clear 3: 6, 4: 6, 0: 6 in the semifinals of the French Open against the Norwegian Casper Ruud. Despite the disappointing end, the former world number two is again a regular contender for a title in one of the four major tournaments.

Now preparing for Wimbledon

“Maybe not in Wimbledon because it’s played on grass, that’s more difficult for me,” said Zverev. “But generally speaking, that’s my mindset from now on.” The man from Hamburg has until the beginning of July to get fit again for the classic lawn game in London. “We players are hardly used to playing on grass,” he said recently about the underground, which can only be played on very few pitches. “It’s just not a surface you’ve trained on since you were a child, so basically you have to learn lawn tennis every year.”

Zverev has never made it past the round of 16 at Wimbledon. At the French Open he failed for the fifth time in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament, and only once at the US Open did he make it to the final.

The 26-year-old admitted that the time before Paris was difficult. This season, after the serious ankle injury at the French Open 2022, he failed several times early on against top professionals and slipped down in the world rankings. “I hope I can continue from there and that’s over,” emphasized Zverev. “I think to date I’ve played great tennis here. It’s definitely something to build on.”

Plenty of empty ranks against Ruud

Only the clap towards the end of the game against the stable Ruud, who now challenges Novak Djokovic on Sunday, left a sad last impression on the public. “Undoubtedly, the dinner prepared for the fine visitors to Roland Garros was tastier than the thin soup that Alexander Zverev served in 2:09 hours during the dull duel with Ruud,” etched “L’Équipe” given the empty ranks on the court Philippe Chatrier.

Even if Zverev sees himself back at the level of the previous year, a performance difference to the absolute top stars like Djokovic or Carlos Alcaraz remains obvious up to his whole body cramp in the semifinals against the Serbs. The record against players from the top ten in the world rankings in Grand Slams for Zverev is now one win and 13 defeats.

But the camera team, which always followed him for a documentary in the days of Paris, was able to take a smiling Zverev as one of the last pictures. “I will be incredibly happy,” he said when asked what feelings he would have when watching the scenes again when they were broadcast. “Everything happened here last year. And a year later I’m back in the semifinals of a Grand Slam.” That won’t be enough for him in the future.


source site-2