Alexander Zverev caused one of the biggest upsets of the year by defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open on Friday. Zverev won 6-4, 6-4 to set up a semifinal clash with Dominic Thiem on Saturday.
Alexander Zverev has now beaten Rafael Nadal three times in a row; he had also beaten the Spaniard at last year's Paris Masters and the 2019 ATP Finals.
The German pointed to that fact during his post-match press conference, saying that his recent record over Nadal gave him confidence going into Friday's fixture. Zverev did admit, however, that scoring a win over Nadal on clay is a different ball game than on hardcourts.
"It helped me to have beaten him the last few times we played," Zverev said. "Of course it was on hard which is very different. To beat Rafa on clay in Spain you have to play your best game. Definitely one of the biggest wins of my career. I'm very happy I did that, yes, we'll see what the next matches have in store for me."
Alexander Zverev was later asked about his emotional outbursts on the court, and whether they helped in any way. In response, Zverev claimed that emotions are 'good for the game' since the players are human.
The German then brought up the difficulties of the 'bubble life' amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected the mental well-being of several tennis players. Zverev believes that on-court displays of emotion may have something to do with the atmosphere that the players are currently in.
"Maybe emotions are good for the game," Alexander Zverev said. "Why not show emotions? We're not robots. We all try to do our best. Emotions are part of sport.
"I don't know, maybe that bubbles touch us a bit," he added. "I know the NBA guys haven't been very happy to be in a bubble at Disneyland for three months. We've been in bubbles now for nine months. There isn't really an end. Maybe it touches us. But I don't know. I think emotions are good for sport. I don't think that's a bad thing."
"It won't be easier against Dominic Thiem" - Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev also claimed that his season is now in good shape again, after injuries had slightly derailed his progress during the initial few months. The 24-year-old expressed hope of being able to maintain his form over the remaining matches in Madrid.
"I feel like, as I said, I played well at the start of the year and then injuries happened," Zverev said. "But I feel like I'm back on track. I do a good job. I hope I can continue to play as I did in the next matches."
While speaking about Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev admitted that he expects a tough fight from the Austrian on Saturday. Zverev, however, signaled his intention of going all the way to the Spanish capital for the second time in his career.
"It won't be easier against Dominic (Thiem) who is also a great player," Zverev continued. "I have to respect that. I have to respect the fights we have had with him in the last matches, hoping to be able to reach another final in Madrid."