Alexander Zverev, ex-tennis bro, finally matured in Paris?

In the alleys of Roland-Garros, very clever one who saw this coming before the start of this fortnight. For some time – precisely in 2017 – in the camp instead of the third number in the world, Alexander Zverev could sit on the world throne on Sunday, June 5. For this German, the equation on paper is “simple”: win the first Grand Slam of his career at Porte d’Auteuil.

He will first have to oust defending champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic’s top scorer, in the semi-finals on Friday before a potential double.

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The 25-year-old tamed the fiery 6-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.e globally. The 19-year-old Spaniard, who was announced as one of the favorites after a stormy start to the season, suddenly showed his age, the intensity of the event, his lack of emotion and experience.

“On the net, I told him he’s going to win this tournament many times, not just one. I hope I can beat him before he starts beating us all and we don’t have a chance.”joked (only halfway) Zverev, who had lost all eleven of his matches against top 10 Grand Slam players so far.

Read also: Roland Garros: Revenge, Alexander Zverev dominates Carlos Alcaraz to reach semi-finals

His cry of anger at the end of the match, almost a roar, showed immense relief and pride. The fact that you could finally keep your rank and honor the appointment (with a capital letter) to the Grand Slam tournament.

Series of disappointments in the Grand Slam tournament

Since we see his tall silhouette gravitating (1.98 m), we almost forget that Alexander Zverev, who turned professional in 2013, is “only” 25 years old. The double winner of the Masters (2018, 2021), which gathers the eight best players of the season at the end of the year, has been dreaming of the Grail title for a few years.

But whether in Melbourne, New York, London or during the meeting at Porte d’Auteuil, he has so far stopped short. First physical: unable to keep pace in five sets, not so long ago. Then, in mind: “At the beginning of my career I had a lot of problems with Grand Slam tournaments, he admitted earlier in the fortnight. I hope that I will be able to maintain stability in the future. »

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A 2020 US Open finalist against Dominic Thiem, he had played a match before bowing out courtesy of the Austrian, who lifted his first Grand Slam trophy in his place. A semi-finalist at Paris 2021, the reigning Olympic champion has lost enough time for his liking after beating Greece’s Stefan Tsitsipas. “I’m not 20 or 21 anymore, I’ve said that many times. I’m at the point where I want to win and where I have to win.” he insisted on Tuesday after his victory over Carlos Alcaraz (6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6).

Against the Spaniard, who had introduced a correction to him in Madrid three weeks ago, the German took revenge, with style. It was a fierce three-hour battle during which he played metronomes on his serve and backhand, two of his main weapons. But he probably made the biggest impression not so much in the game as in his patience and nerve management.

“I knew the match was going to be long and very physical. I can’t show my emotions too much because it drains the energy. I had to stay calm throughout the game even though I missed chances in the third [set], which I lost, by the way. »

While the public was leaning more towards Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev didn’t bat an eyelash. Ne wasted his nerves on the smallest racket, his favorite whipping boy.

Bloodshed in Acapulco

A few weeks ago, he fell back into his bad luck, marring an already contrasting image a little more. During the tournament in Acapulco (Mexico), the right-back was unhinged after a doubles match that was lost in a super tiebreak with Brazil’s Marcela Melo. mehit the judge’s chair three times with the racketsat down then stood up to insult the clerk and give a final blow with his net.

Immediately banned from the tournament, he was fined $40,000 (€35,600) before being banned for two months, plus an additional $25,000 fine from the ATP. “The fine and condition are suspended with the condition that during the probationary period ending on February 22, 2023 [un an après l’incident], the player does not commit other violations of the disciplinary code”, the body that governs the interests of men’s tennis, wrote in a press release, “quite arrogant considering this bloodshed.”

The player then had “ask for forgiveness” in a post on his Instagram account, claiming that he is “I apologize privately to the chair judge”after his tantrum “unacceptable”. A few days ago at Roland-Garros, the world number three spoke for the first time about the difficulties he faces off the courts. ” Some players talk about it often and more openly. I don’t like doing it. But this year I struggled a lot. I went through a lot of difficulties, I wasn’t very happy, I think I was quite close to depression at times”. he expressed.

Even in the press conference, an exercise he has long hated, the German showed the wisdom that we did not know him until then.

Georgie Collins

"Falls down a lot. Writer. Passionate alcohol maven. Future teen idol. Hardcore music practitioner. Food fanatic. Devoted travel fan."

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