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Tennis: Pain-distorted face: Zverev in the Wimbledon round of 16

Tennis: Pain-distorted face: Zverev in the Wimbledon round of 16
Tennis: Pain-distorted face: Zverev in the Wimbledon round of 16

A moment of shock, an extraordinary tiebreak and Pep Guardiola in the stands: Zverev’s Wimbledon match is a topic of conversation. He wants to have his knee examined.

After his moment of shock when he reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, Alexander Zverev limped slightly as he came up the stairs with a bandage around his left knee. For the last remaining German tennis hopeful, the most important grass tournament in the world is about his first quarter-final and the hunt for his long-awaited first Grand Slam title. But after his fall in the third round against Briton Cameron Norrie, his knee is a cause for concern.

“I’m in pain right now,” said the French Open finalist after the 6:4, 6:4, 7:6 (17:15) against Norrie and announced that he would have an MRI scan done that day. “I don’t think it can be that incredibly serious, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued playing the way I was playing.”

His next opponent on Monday is Taylor Fritz, who beat Chilean Alejandro Tabilo in three sets. The American, ranked number twelve in the world, is by far his best opponent, at least in terms of rankings.

A brief reminder of Paris

After winning the first set against Norrie with ease, Zverev had to deal with a shock at the start of the second set in front of almost 15,000 spectators on Centre Court. With the score at 2:2, he slipped on the grass close to the umpire’s chair, overstretched his leg and remained lying there with a face contorted in pain.

For just a split second, memories of his serious foot injury from the 2022 French Open semifinal against Spaniard Rafael Nadal were awakened. This time, Zverev held his left knee. Although a physiotherapist came onto the court, Zverev even waived a medical timeout and continued playing shortly afterwards.

“Of course I was limited,” said Zverev. “I may not have chased every ball, but I still moved well enough to win against a difficult opponent in three sets. So let’s see what it is. I hope that I can be back on the court in two days.” It happened when he ran to a drop ball, Zverev explained the scene. “I then wanted to change direction.”

White bandage under the knee

The world number four tried to contact his box a few times after the fall. But he still secured the next break to make it 5:4 and screamed his joy. At the change of ends, the German number one called the physiotherapist over again, but only spoke to him. Only when the second set was over did he have a white bandage put on below his left knee.

Zverev was allowed to play against the last remaining British hopeful in the men’s singles for the first time at this year’s Wimbledon on Centre Court. He went onto the court knowing that he had mastered all five previous tasks against Norrie. In Australia at the start of the season, however, he was close to being eliminated against the left-hander and only managed to prevail in the tiebreak of the fifth set.

The strong serve impresses

As in the two previous Wimbledon matches, the roof of the hall was closed because of the rain that kept coming. The conditions were therefore suitable for Zverev. A key to Zverev’s game was once again his strong serve, he didn’t allow a single break chance. The third set was nevertheless evenly matched until the end.

When he won the match 6:5, the left-hander Norrie surprised him with a cheeky serve from below. At the end, it was exciting to see whether Zverev would have to give up a set for the first time in the tournament in the unusually long tiebreak.

But with the sixth match point, the Hamburg native managed to secure another victory. The top German player thus avoided the fate of last year, when he was eliminated in the third round by the Italian Matteo Berrettini, and is in the round of the best 16 for the third time after 2017 and 2021 in London.

Nervous about Pep Guardiola

“On grass, I sometimes feel like a cow on ice,” said Zverev in an interview on the court. “It is an incredible honor to play on Centre Court and in front of the Royal Box,” said Zverev and addressed a few words to football coach Pep Guardiola.

“When I saw Pep, I got so nervous for a few games,” said the 27-year-old about the coach of the top English club Manchester City. With a grin, he addressed a few words directly to Guardiola: “Bayern Munich needs a coach. If you’re fed up with football, you can train me any time.”

Zverev is the only German left in singles

While Zverev now hopes to be ready for the next round, Wimbledon is over for Jan-Lennard Struff. The second-best German tennis professional lost the continuation of his two-day third-round match against Daniil Medvedev from Russia 1:6, 3:6, 6:4, 6:7 (3:7). This means that the Sauerland native must continue to wait for his first round of 16 at the grass court classic after a rain-related cliffhanger.

Source: Stern

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