French Open – In the shadow of the favorites: Zverev hopes for his real tennis

Alexander Zverev’s shape curve recently pointed up slightly. At the start of the French Open, he is already challenged on Sunday.

Alexander Zverev knows exactly what he is talking about when he says: “It takes a lot more to win a Grand Slam tournament than just play tennis.” Year after year, he started in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York – so far always in vain. So why should an upstart like the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in Roland Garros, of all things?

Zverev disturbs the fact that the sensational teenager is suddenly declared a top favorite for the climax of the sandplace season. This was also reported by his brother Mischa. The old masters Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the top of the bookmakers’ notes – the extremely ambitious Zverev still likes this. But Alcaraz? “No!” Not the one.

“It was so according to the motto: ‘I don’t put up with that. Now my time has come, now I want to win, and I want to become the favorite and prove it to everyone,” said Mischa at eurosport. Only with despite Sascha Zverev will hardly bring it to the Grand Slam winner. He has to increase in Paris because his season has been disappointing so far.

French Open draw preview 2022. My top 8 favourites.

The shape curve is pointing up, with the semi -finals in Monte Carlo and Rome and the final in Madrid, Zverev can live, but a title has not yet jumped out in 2022 – and that is “a bit disappointing”, as he was two days admitted before the beginning of the French Open. He will finally show his “real tennis”, Zverev hopes in Paris, where he will meet the Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner in the first round on Sunday.

Alexander Zverev wants to show his “real” tennis

Zverev will have to show his “real” tennis in a possible quarter -finals against young star Alcaraz at the latest, against whom he had been invalidated in the final of Madrid. However, the title would still be far away: also in half of the tableau – and thus possible hurdles in the semi -finals – are Nadal and Djokovic, for Zverev anyway the hottest candidates.

“It’s funny,” said Zverev, after watching the last struck Nadal during training. In his clay court Roland Garros, where Nadal has triumphed unique triumph 13 times, his forehand is “suddenly 20 miles faster and he moves more easily. There is something in this place that makes it 30 percent better.”

Djokovic, in turn, finds back to his shape, said Zverev about the Serbs. “He gets better on sand day to day and he played fantastically in Rome.” And then in the other half of the tableau, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, which is not part of Zverev’s favorite opponents on sand. In short: The Olympic champion is only an outsider in the fight for the Coupe de Mousquetaires.

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But that’s exactly what he sees a chance. Majors sometimes prevented his own expectations from calling up his best performance. The triumph at a Grand Slam tournament is “the ultimate goal”, the pressure accordingly high, said Zverev and immediately passed it on to the next generation. It is “interesting to watch” how Carlos Alcaraz “will handle it”.

Tennis: Alexander Zverev without losing a set in the semi -finals of Rome

After the final in Madrid, Alexander Zverev is also in the semi -finals in Rome. The big opponents only come. The constitution of the sandplace king Rafael Nadal meanwhile raises a few days before the French Open questions.

After the third two -set victory within three days, Alexander Zverev had only one question: “When can I go back to the Center Court?” The second, temporary place in the Rome Foro Italico did not like the tennis Olympic champion at all. The underground is really “bad”, the numerous place errors could “frustrate quite a bit,” said Zverev.

The fact that the frustration was limited, the racket was not flew over the sand this time, was due to the next increase in performance of the 25-year-old Hamburg. The 7: 5, 6: 2 against the Chilean ash specialist Cristian Garin, “a very good opponent”, as Zverev later explained, was another step forward towards the French Open (from May 22nd), the great goal of the German.

“It may not always be the most beautiful tennis,” he said, “but I did my job.” That is the most important thing. Without loss of sets, Zverev, Champion from 2017, reached the semi -finals, its third at the third clay court masters of the season. But that’s not enough for him. Only the first title of the year would give Zverev additional momentum for Paris.

Because he has to conquer the greats of his guild, stronger opponents than the clay court ravish Sebastian Baez and Garin or the nimble Australian Alex de Minaur. In the semifinals, either in Monte Carlo (defeat) and Madrid (victory) of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas or the Italian Jannik Sinner. In the final possibly the recovered Serb Novak Djokovic.#

ATP Masters Rome: Nadal missed semi -finals

Only one who is never really missing when it gets serious when it comes to sand: Rafael Nadal, ten-time winner in Rome, 13-time champion in Roland Garros, Grand Slam record winner. The Spaniard flew not only from the tournament late Thursday evening, his foot injury, which had him limp against the Canadian Denis Shapovalov, raises questions.

“I’m not hurt, I’m a player who lives with an injury,” said Nadal defiantly. Sometimes he doesn’t notice anything, but sometimes the foot hurts “like crazy”. Nadal had brought the pain around the second half of the year last season, almost sensational, he got the 21st major title after his comeback in Australia, but the foot remains its problem area.

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Can he defend his kingdom in the Stade Roland Garros against young, carefree attackers such as Zverev, Tsitsipas or his spectacular compatriot Carlos Alcaraz? Can he prevent Djokovic from catching up to him in the eternal Grand Slam ranking? “What will be in the next few days? I don’t know,” said Nadal in Rome. And in a week? “I really can’t say it!”