"Alexander Zverev was a different player" - German's brother Mischa proudly speaks on his Rafael Nadal win at French Open

Mischa Zverev on his brother
Mischa Zverev on his brother's performance against Rafael Nadal (Source: GETTY)

Alexander Zverev's elder brother Mischa gave his thoughts on the World No. 4's performance against Rafael Nadal in their first-round encounter at the 2024 French Open on Monday, May 27. He believes that while the King of Clay played at a high enough level, the German's renewed maturity saw him through.

Zverev was near his best during his blockbuster clash against Nadal. He weathered gruesome shotmaking from his older opponent, winning 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in just over three hours. The fourth seed fell behind a break in the final two sets but maintained his composure to get those breaks back right away.

Although the match ended in straight sets, Alexander Zverev only won 20 more points than Rafael Nadal. In this context, former pro Mischa Zverev took on some questions surrounding how his younger brother dealt with the daunting prospect of facing the 14-time French Open champion on Philipp-Chatrier in an Instagram reel later on Monday.

The 36-year-old insisted that the fact Alexander Zverev had injured his ankle two years ago against Rafael Nadal in Paris would've certainly made him nervous going into the match. He also showered rich praise on his brother for not taking away the spotlight from the 22-time Major winner, who may retire after this year's Olympics.

"Well, you have to be nervous. Because you're playing Rafa in the first round, you have to be nervous considering two years ago he broke his ankle, got carried off the court," Mischa Zverev said on his Instagram reels. "I think nerves played a lot of part. Nerves played a role, but I think he handled it pretty well.
"So class act at the end, did so well, congratulating Rafa and he said the moment is not about him, it's about Rafa," he added. "And I think that was really smart of him. He did so well."

Mischa Zverev also discussed whether his brother displayed better form during the 2022 or the 2024 edition of the French Open. Before giving a definitive answer, the German did concede that Rafael Nadal was marginally better two years back.

That said, the former World No. 25 stated that Zverev's outlook changed a lot since his 2022 injury.

"It's so tough to say because I think Rafa was playing a little better (in 2022). Maybe moving a little better to compare. But I do think Sascha was a different player today, he matured," Mischa Zverev said. "I think the injury made him mature, and made him grow up as a person and a player. So, it's tough to say, obviously different circumstances."

Alexander Zverev to face either David Goffin or Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in the second round of French Open 2024

Alexander Zverev after beating Rafael Nadal
Alexander Zverev after beating Rafael Nadal

Alexander Zverev has received a respectable draw at this year's French Open. Now that the German has fought past Rafael Nadal, the most successful player in the tournament's history, the going will only get easier for him. The fourth seed can take on either former World No. 7 David Goffin or French wildcard Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in his next match.

Zverev is then projected to face 26th-seeded Tallon Griekspoor for a place in the second week in Paris. Provided he goes this far, either two-time quarterfinalist Holger Rune or 18th-seeded Karen Khachanov will likely await him in the fourth round.

Alexander Zverev will have his work cut out from this point onwards. To win his first Major title, he might have to beat the likes of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, or Carlos Alcaraz (both of whom will meet in the last four), and Daniil Medvedev in succession.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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