Tennis: Zverev looks forward to French Open duel with “legend” Nadal

Tennis: Zverev looks forward to French Open duel with “legend” Nadal

Alexander Zverev initially reacted to the draw with disbelief, but now he is highly motivated. He is looking forward to his opening match in Paris against Nadal. He is not taking any advice from Becker.

At first Alexander Zverev thought it was a joke, but now he has warmed up to the idea of ​​the hammer opening match of the French Open against record winner Rafael Nadal. “I’m looking forward to this match. I’m happy that I can play against such a legend again,” said the Olympic tennis champion in Paris.

“I really wanted to play against Rafa again in my career. I didn’t want my last memory against Nadal to be being wheeled out in a wheelchair.”

Before the rematch, Zverev still has the images of the 2022 French Open semifinal in his mind, when Zverev twisted his ankle in a duel with Nadal (37) and was then pushed from Court Philippe Chatrier in a wheelchair. At that time, he had met the Spanish clay court king on equal terms and was close to becoming number 1 in the world. The serious foot injury ruined that and also set Zverev far back in his goal of a Grand Slam title.

“If I can show that on the court again and maybe do one or two things better, then I can win. That’s my mindset,” said the 27-year-old, who expects a “difficult match.” “Of course I wanted to play against him much later in the tournament, that’s completely clear. But it is what it is.” When his brother Mischa Zverev told him about the tough draw on Thursday after training, “I initially thought he was joking,” revealed the Hamburg native.

Becker’s advice: Don’t play “against the myth” of Nadal

Zverev did not take the advice of tennis icon Boris Becker to approach the match as “emotionlessly” as possible and to play “not against the Nadal myth” but against “the current Nadal of today”. “I don’t agree,” he said: “In my head, I assume that I’m playing against a Rafael Nadal at his peak. I think that he will show his best tennis – that’s my mindset.”

Becker had previously advised the German protégé to forget Nadal’s successes and history. In a Eurosport press conference, he said that he himself would “never bet against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.” The French audience in particular could have a great influence on the Spaniard: “Rafa and Roland Garros – that is the greatest love story in tennis.”

Source: Stern

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