Wimbledon dress code is one of the many cherished traditions at this time-honored and slightly quirky tournament. Only here, in the exclusive All England Lawn Tennis Club in south London, where playing tennis is always an aesthetic experience, is the “white sport” still really white. The fact that since this year players have been able to choose darker colors for their underwear at their own request is as sensible as it is pragmatic. Otherwise, however, the rule holders are not very willing to compromise.
Anyone who wanted to discover the Indian deity that was emblazoned on Alexander Zverev’s shirt on Thursday had to take a very close look. The fine white lines that artfully intertwine to form the figure ended up being just as white as the rest of the outfit. However, Germany’s best tennis player didn’t really need divine support for his hard-fought but safe win against Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer. Zverev won 6: 4, 7: 6 (7: 4), 7: 6 (7: 5) and needed a little more than two hours.
It reveals a lot about how the first few days in Wimbledon went that Zverev was on the pitch for the first time on the fourth day of the tournament. The “British summer”, this incalculable mix of sun, clouds and repeated rain had thrown the game plan upside down. Zverev was among the players who were most affected. His match was only postponed several times on Tuesday and then on Wednesday. “I was prepared to not start the tournament until Saturday next week,” he said jokingly. laughter in the audience.
After all, the waiting time was associated with a kind of social advancement for Zverev. The 26-year-old, who is currently only number 21 in the world rankings after a long injury break due to several torn ligaments, is not one of the big favorites at Wimbledon this time. His match against Brouwer was originally scheduled for the relatively small No. 3 court. On Wednesday he would have moved to the medium-sized Court No. 2. On Thursday, he and Brouwer faced each other on Court No. 1. More than ten thousand spectators watched there.
“It’s going to be a hard day for me”
“I’m just happy to be back here. It wasn’t an easy time for me,” said Zverev after the match. “I’ve been playing since January, but I’ve only been pain-free since the beginning of May.” After the delays of the first few days, he now has to adjust to a full schedule. His second match against the Japanese Yosuke Watanuki, who slipped into the main draw as a lucky loser, is scheduled for this Friday. “It’s going to be a tough day for me,” he said, adding: “Of course, only if the weather holds.”
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At least that’s what it looked like on Thursday. Zverev dueled with Brouwer in bright sunshine. He played his game as serious as it was lackluster. In the end he only managed one break in the first set, but he never had to give up his serve. The fact that he was able to maintain his level in the tie-breaks while the inexperienced opponent was nervous was enough for a sovereign three-set win.
Because the match was a pretty sober affair, the real highlight of the game was a little feat in the third set. When the ball flew back to him in a high arc after a serve error, Zverev elegantly steered it out of the air into his pocket with a single movement. There was more applause for that than for all the point wins before and after. Tennis at Wimbledon should always be an aesthetic experience.
Before Zverev, two other German professionals had already reached the next round in Wimbledon on Thursday. Jule Niemeier, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year, surprisingly beat the Czech French Open finalist Karolina Muchova 6: 4, 5: 7, 6: 1 in her opening match. Qualifier Maximilian Marterer is already in the third round after beating the American Michael Mmoh 7:5, 7:6 (7:5), 6:4.