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German legend Michael Stich hands out violently against tennis star

12. June 2022 – 12:24 pm watch

After Alexander Zverev’s brutal semi-final exit at the French Open in Paris, the Olympic champion’s serious foot injury made the headlines for days. The German tennis icon Michael Stich has now analyzed Zverev’s sporting performance up to the injury shock against Rafael Nadal – and hands out a good deal to the 25-year-old.

“We’re talking about the number three in the world here”

Up to 6: 7 and 6: 6, Alexander Zverev showed himself to be at least an equal opponent in the semifinals against clay court king Rafael Nadal, who was to celebrate his 14th triumph at Roland Garros two days later.

The 24-year-old even had several opportunities to embarrass the Spaniard. Zverev left his greatest chances in the tie-break of the first set when he missed four set balls in the 6-2 lead and even lost the first set.

“He leads 6-2 in the tie-breaker and keeps playing the same thing and keeps attacking with the same ball. Alexander leads 5-4 in the second set, serves and makes three double faults. We’re talking about the number three of the World,” said Michael Stich in the “Sky” tennis podcast, which he runs together with Patrik Kühnen, ex-team boss of the German Davis Cup team, among others.

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Michael Stich became a German tennis legend with a Wimbledon victory over Boris Becker

© german press agency

Zverev reports from the sickbed

Not being fully focused and error-free in the most important and ultimately match-decisive moments made the difference between Zverev and Nadal until the injury-related end of the German after 3:13 hours of play, emphasized the ex-Wimbledon winner Stich.

“What is it that’s missing? What’s going on in the head of number three in the world?” The 53-year-old formulated critical questions towards Zverev.

After the bad foot injury at the end of the second set and the forced surrender, the view of the sporting performance receded into the background. On Tuesday, Zverev himself spoke up via Instagram and informed about the operation that had already taken place.

Germany’s tennis idol Michael Stich stayed in his analysis of Zverev’s previously shown game against record champion Rafael Nadal: “The fact that he served three double mistakes in such a situation: That shouldn’t happen!”

Stich himself knows best what he is talking about. Remember the legendary semi-final game in the Davis Cup against the Russian Andrei Chesnokov in 1995, when he missed an incredible nine match points and still lost in the end.

“I failed. That wasn’t the worst, but the most painful defeat of my career. As a person and as a tennis player, this match will always shape me. I didn’t know how brutal sport can be,” said Stich afterwards about this unforgettable match in Moscow .

Stitch: Factor Nadal no excuse

The widespread assumption that the mere fact of playing against the best clay court player of all time at the French Open could have caused uncertainty for Zverev, did not want Stich to apply to the recent Zverev bankruptcy last Friday.

“I think this thesis is a nice excuse to talk yourself into why you don’t win a match like this at the end of the day. Alexander played great tennis at the beginning of the match, really. […] He then plays a service game at 4:3, which is for the bin! A drop in performance from 100 percent to 50 percent. And that has nothing to do with Nadal on the other side!” Said the former number two in the world.

He identified Hamburg’s lack of mental stability as one of the main reasons why he gave up a lead against Nadal in both sets and fell behind until his injury.

At the same time, Stich cited the mental component as the reason why, in addition to Zverev, a whole series of other younger tennis stars will not be able to defeat Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the decisive moments in 2022 either: “That’s exactly why it’s the young generation hasn’t managed to push the old ones off the throne for 15 years. And you could see that in the two sentences!”

According to Stich, the young generation around Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas or the defeated final opponent Casper Ruud “stand in their own way”: “It’s not just that Nadal wins the games, but also that the young players lose the thing .” (sport.de)

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