when Alexander Zverev He withdrew from the French Open last year but was in a wheelchair. he was in tears.
Zverev, who tore ligaments in his right ankle while running for the ball, was forced to withdraw from the semi-final against eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Zverev had hopes of winning his first major title after winning the ATP Finals twice and winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics. He was also runner-up at the 2020 US Open.
Zverev has faced a lot of adversity, much of it of his own making. A public feud with his former agent over money was settled out of court. Allegations of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend haunted him for nearly two years, leading to an investigation by the ATP, which ultimately found no substantive evidence to support the allegations. And Zverev was fined $40,000 and sentenced to 12 months’ probation for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he had an on-court tantrum after losing in doubles last year.
Zverev remains one of the hardest working players on tour.
The interview below has been edited and condensed.
You are known for your physical strength on the court. But the game is also mental. Which is harder for you?
I always feel mentally and mentally prepared when I work. There is nothing to be nervous about if you give everything you have to win. If you don’t play well, you can’t play well. Every sport, especially tennis, is a special sport, so sometimes things happen that are out of your control.
You were very competitive when you were a child. How has that helped you on the ATP Tour?
I hated losing. it was helpful for me. Because when younger or better players came along, I tried to outdo them. If you work harder than others, you will be better than others. That’s not always true. I learned that with age.
Everyone talks about your father’s influence on your game, but wasn’t it your mother who taught you the techniques?
She taught me the game from an early age and had a greater influence on me than my father did. More and more people are talking about her father. Because he is my real coach now. Sergi Bruguera. However, her mother had far more influence than her father.
Of all the men you’ve beaten — Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev — who’s the hardest?
Each of them has its own difficulties. When Rafa is playing well on clay, he is unbeatable. I’ve played with Novak on many surfaces and it’s also very difficult when he gets into the zone. With Roger, everything happens very quickly. It feels like the match just started, you’ve already lost a set and you’ve had a break, and you have no idea what happened. Medvedev does not miss. No matter what position you put him on the court, he will always try to get the ball back, so he has to win the game himself. And Carlos Alcaraz, obviously power in his case. I honestly can’t name the most difficult one.
You’ve been through a lot in the last few years, from personal issues to injuries, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself?
You are naive when you are young. You think everyone is your best friend and they’re there because they really like you. But tennis is a business and unfortunately it’s not always the greatest thing in the world. I have a very close circle. I don’t let people in anymore. I really only have people I can trust 100%. To be competitive, I had to learn to look at myself and get the noise out of my head.
What do you enjoy most about this game?
It means that you are really who you are. Win by yourself, lose by yourself. You cannot hide behind your teammates. Many players say they just play for the money and don’t really like tennis. I am someone who really loves what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. For me there is no better life.