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French Open: “The world is not ending”: Zverev between frustration and pride

French Open: “The world is not ending”: Zverev between frustration and pride

The tennis star has dealt with his second final drama with astonishing composure. His daughter is probably also comforting him. He wants to emulate “Beast” Alcaraz to win the longed-for first Grand Slam title.

Alexander Zverev left Paris, the place he longed for to win a title, uncrowned – but not inconsolable. The frustration over the dream of his first Grand Slam tournament victory, which was once again brutally shattered and a fatal wrong decision by the referee, was limited for the remarkably composed tennis star. “What happens next? Like any other normal person,” said Zverev with emphatic calm: “The world is not coming to an end.”

The day after the dramatic final defeat at the French Open against the young Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz (21), the 27-year-old wanted to fly first to Switzerland for a sponsor meeting and then to Berlin. “Because I want to meet a very important person there, which I always do after tournaments,” revealed Zverev. Even though his partner Sophia Thomalla lives in the capital and is expected back from a TV shoot in Thailand on Monday, someone else is probably meant: daughter Mayla (3).

During the Grand Slam tournament on clay, Zverev and her mother agreed to end the trial against him for allegations of bodily harm. The Berlin Tiergarten District Court announced that they wanted to resolve the conflict peacefully and dropped the case in return for a fine of 200,000 euros and without conviction. Zverev, who is still considered innocent, said: “I’m happy that it’s over.”

Stuttgart start unlikely

This statement does not apply to the end of his favorite tournament. How much he would like to turn back time and play the final against Alcaraz, which he lost 3:6, 6:2, 7:5, 1:6, 2:6, again, was shown by his statement on the impending cancellation of the grass tournament in Stuttgart: “The chances of me playing in Stuttgart are just as high as the chances of me going out again now and winning the final.” So zero.

Zverev was also unable to shake off the “ifs, buts” thoughts because a wrong decision would at least reduce his chances of the longed-for triumph at the Stade Roland Garros. In the 5th set, with the score at 1:2 and 40:15 for Zverev, the linesman called out on Alcaraz’s second serve, but he was overruled by chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein after looking at the ball imprint on the sand. The Hawk-Eye images that later proved the wrong decision are not available to the referee as a technical aid at the French Open.

Alcaraz struggled to hold his serve to make it 3-1 and won the final set a short time later, winning the match and tournament. The 21-year-old is the youngest tennis professional to win a Grand Slam title on all three surfaces: clay, grass and hard court. The situation was “frustrating,” said Zverev, “but it is what it is. Referees are only human – and they make mistakes.”

Zverev on Alcaraz: “He is definitely an animal”

He did not want to use it as an excuse. He did not blame himself after his second final trauma either. It was not like when he lost the US Open final in 2020 by the narrowest of margins, “that I gave it away myself,” said the world number four. In his thank you speech on Court Philippe Chatrier to his team, he showed fighting spirit again: “We were close today, but it was not enough. Hopefully one day we will hold this trophy in our hands.”

Zverev already knew what he had to do two hours after the last rally. He wanted to emulate Alcaraz in terms of intensity, because that was “what kills you,” said Zverev: “We are both physically strong, but he is a beast. He is definitely an animal.” He now wanted to consult with his team “and see what I can do to get to the same level.”

The German is considered one of the fittest players on the tour; in the two weeks in Paris, the Olympic champion was on the court for a total of 23 hours and 46 minutes – including three five-set matches. Nevertheless, he said: “What I learned here is that I have to get to a completely different level physically.”

But first he wants to recover from the physical and mental strain. Next week Zverev will play in Halle/Westphalia and warm up for the grass court classic in Wimbledon at the beginning of July. There he has never made it past the round of 16 on the surface he rather dislikes.

Source: Stern

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