Tennis: Zverev with Masters triumph at French Open: “Dream again”

Tennis: Zverev with Masters triumph at French Open: “Dream again”

The dress rehearsal for the second Grand Slam tournament of the year couldn’t have gone better. Alexander Zverev is traveling to Paris as one of the top favorites. Things are also making progress in the world rankings.

Alexander Zverev sank to his knees, stretched both fists forward and let his joy flow with a primal scream. With his triumph at the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, the German tennis star not only won his first title this year, but also celebrated a perfect dress rehearsal for the French Open, which begins next Sunday.

“That’s not a statement,” Zverev said when asked about the importance of the second Grand Slam tournament of the year: “Now let me be happy for one day, and then I’ll be off to Paris.” As a title favorite? The Hamburg native is planning to stay at least until the final day on June 9: “Hopefully it will be two and a half long weeks for me…”

Zverev’s competition is weakening

The chances of the longed-for first Grand Slam tournament victory are perhaps better than ever. Zverev not only showed top form in Rome in the 6:4, 7:5 final win on Sunday against the Chilean Nicolas Jarry, he only lost one set in the entire tournament. Above all, his serve strength was impressive. “I’m at the level I’d like to be at,” said the Olympic champion: “I can dream again.”

In addition, the competition is weakening in the current clay court season. World number one Novak Djokovic was battling a “worrying” condition in Rome after being hit in the head by a bottle while signing autographs. Australian Open winner Jannik Sinner has not played a match since the end of April due to hip problems, and Carlos Alcaraz only recently resumed batting training after an elbow injury. And for clay court king Rafael Nadal, a title on his farewell at the Stade Roland Garros would be a small tennis miracle.

“If something opens up at the front, then Alexander Zverev is at the forefront of pushing into this gap. But if he plays so well, he doesn’t have to hope for this gap. Then he can win a Grand Slam like that,” said Ex-player Andrea Petkovic on Sky: “I absolutely trust him.”

Favorable Paris draw beckons

Last year Zverev made it to the semi-finals in Paris – just like in 2022, when a serious foot injury robbed him of all chances of victory in the match against Nadal. With his first tournament victory at Masters 1000 level since this bitter setback, Zverev has finally proven to all doubters and himself that he is once again among the absolute best in the world.

In the world rankings published on Monday, he climbed one place to fourth place – a fact that is not insignificant for the seeding list at the French Open. So he can avoid Djokovic, Sinner and Alcaraz at least until the semi-finals. The draw takes place on Thursday.

But Zverev didn’t want to look that far ahead immediately after his triumph. He thoroughly enjoyed his second victory in Rome after 2017. He kissed the silver cup and wet his support team with a shower of champagne. There was a loving kiss on the forehead from father and coach Alexander Zverev senior.

“The victory means a lot to me. Rome is a very special place for me,” said Zverev: “I won my first major title here seven years ago, and here I have now won my first major title after the injury.” But the French Open is the date “that everyone has marked on their calendar”. Zverev also wants to celebrate there at the end with a primal scream.

Source: Stern

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