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Masters in Indian Wells: Zverev in tennis paradise: palm trees, mountain peaks and confidence

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At the French Open, Alexander Zverev destroyed almost all ligaments in his ankle. The rehab was long, the comeback tough. In Indian Wells, the Olympic champion wants to prove that he’s getting back in shape.

After months of rehabilitation and initial successes in Dubai, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev has arrived in tennis paradise. At least that’s what the Masters in Indian Wells, which is very popular with many professionals, is called – and Zverev feels good again after his serious ankle injury at the French Open.

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“I have the feeling that I’m ready again to compete with the best players in the world and to be on the same level,” said the 25-year-old of the German Press Agency.

After a sweaty session on the facility with a panorama of palm trees and snow-capped mountain peaks, Zverev described his complex relationship with the tournament in southern California. “It’s beautiful here. Beautiful facility, beautiful place. But it’s also very special in terms of tennis. The conditions are very special,” he said. “I haven’t found my best tennis here yet, but I come back every year and hope every year that I find my best tennis.”

Semi-finals in Dubai as an important step

However, the requirements for this edition cannot be compared with those of previous years. In between is the serious injury at the French Open, when Zverev twisted his ankle in an epic semi-final duel with Rafael Nadal and broke pretty much everything you can break in an ankle. Instead of reaching for the hoped-for first Grand Slam victory, he said goodbye to the fans in France and to rehab, first in a wheelchair and then on crutches.

Since then, Zverev has only won at least two games in a row in one tournament – most recently in Dubai, when he made it to the semifinals. “That was very important. Dubai showed me that a bit. Hopefully it will be even better here,” he said.

“I feel good. I already felt good in Dubai and hopefully it will get better every week now,” said Zverev before his first duel in the second round – as a number twelve seeded player, he had a bye in the first round . “In my opinion, what I saw in Dubai looks damn good again,” said Tommy Haas.

Tournament director trusts Zverev a lot

The former number two in the world has been tournament director of Indian Wells since 2017 and has confidence in Zverev in a field in which both world number one Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are missing. The Spaniard canceled injured, the Serb Djokovic is not vaccinated against the corona virus and was not allowed to enter the USA. “At the beginning of the year he was certainly not satisfied himself, but when I see him here now during training, he looks very fit and hungry too,” said Haas about Zverev. “His draw here looks good, I have a lot of confidence in him.”

Zverev could only meet the top seeded Carlos Alcaraz from Spain in the final, while number two seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece is waiting in the semifinals at the earliest. The highest seeded opponent in Zverev’s tournament tree is Daniil Medvedev at number five. However, the Russian recently won in Dubai.

Zverev was in the quarter-finals in Indian Wells, that was in 2021. Otherwise it was over in his second encounter at the latest. “Indian Wells was never a week where I got very, very far. But let’s see. I have to play one or two matches, then I can answer more,” said Zverev. Because basically it’s like this: “I want to start winning tournaments again at some point, that’s very clear.”

Source: Stern

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