On Monday, after the brutal physical beating he needed to beat Jannik Sinner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in a grueling match that qualified him for the quarterfinals in the US Open, one of the first questions Alexander Zverev was asked on court was about his next opponent, Carlos Alcaraz. The Hamburg tennis player smiled but remained silent. Only after 10 long seconds, without ever losing his smile, without demanding that they let him savor the feat that he had just sealed, did he speak. “I am here to play. It’s what I love to do. I don’t know how it will end but I will absolutely do my best. I will fight until the end, until the last minute. Of course I will have to recover from this game, but I’ll be ready”.
That is the Zverev that the Murcian is going to run into tonight in New York (at 2:00 the next morning in Spain). a tennis player 26 years more reflective, on and off the trackwho on Monday showed his composure by stopping the game to denounce a spectator who had said “Hitler’s most famous phrase” (the spectator, who said the phrase from the Nazi anthem ‘Deutschland über alles’, ‘was tracked down and expelled , between boos).
— Lawrence (@dutyfreechamp) September 5, 2023
He is a competitor capable of leaving his skin in every game. And that he sees his return step by step to his highest level, the one from which he was separated for more than six months by the traumatic injury who suffered last year in the semifinals of Roland Garros, when facing Rafael Nadal he tore several ligaments in his right ankle.
It is clear that Zverev, who has climbed back up to the position world 12who this year won the title in Hamburg and again reached the semifinals in Paris, and who hopes to enter the top three again next year (he was number 2) has returned, renewed. And if the recovery from the wild fight with Sinner allows it, (and this Wednesday he was not seen training at Flushing Meadows) he is willing to prove it against the number 1 in Arthur Ashethe New York power station where he was finalist in 2020, when he fell to Dominic Thiem, and a semifinalist a year later.
“I can say that I’m back, it’s one of the best moments of my career”, Zverev has said these days, who has to his credit the Olympic gold in Tokyo, five Masters 1000 and two Masters Cups (in 2018 and 2021). It also has a partial 3-2 in his favor in his face to face with the Murcian, although it was the man from El Palmar who overwhelmingly won the last match in Madrid. But in that meeting, in May, Zverev was still in the early stages of his comeback. And now he arrives with the determination to make the most of the moments that you missed so much during his absence due to injury.
Zverev, who in the past He was trained by Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer and Sergi Bruguera but since before Roland Garros he has returned to be trained exclusively by his father, he also claims a narrative change. These days in the Open has ugly to the media the focus place in the dream final for the tournament, that duel between Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic that would replicate the final that the 1 and 2 in the world gave to tennis at Wimbledon, where the Spaniard added his second great after the New York title last year, or the recent fight for the title in Cincinnati, one of the best matches of the year, where the winner was the Serb.
“Es natural for the media find rivalriesbut there are other players in the draw, other players that both have lost to”, recalled Sascha, speaking of “a disrespect”, which, yes, he did not attribute to Nole or Carlitos. And Alcaraz himself, before knowing that he would be his rival, admitted that the rooms, whether he was on the other side of the Sinner net or, as has ended up happening, Zverev, were going to be “really tough.” “We have played some great games”, highlighted the German. “This playing really wellthis year is finding its high again”.
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