Alexander Zverev clinched the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career at Madrid on Sunday, turning in a comprehensive performance to beat Matteo Berrettini in three tight sets.
Zverev, who lost the opening set in a close tiebreaker, dug deep in the second and third sets to break the big-serving Italian three times. The German was elated with his victory, and he even remarked in a brief post-match interview that he was "feeling awesome" at the moment.
During his winner's speech at the trophy ceremony, Alexander Zverev first thanked the Madrid government for allowing the claycourt event to take place with a limited amount of fans. The 24-year-old then turned his attention to Madrid Open tournament director Feliciano Lopez, joking about how he broke a lot of local hearts by beating Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Zverev revealed that Lopez had ceased communication with him after that match, but expressed hope for that to change with his title victory. He then proceeded to shower rich plaudits on Lopez for his contribution to the tournament.
"Thank you, Feli," Zverev said. "For some reason after I beat Rafa you don't talk to me one word. I don't know why, but I think this would change after the final.
"I think both of you are doing an incredible job," he added. "Thank you guys for putting up this event, as much as the Madrid government for allowing us to come here and make us feel so special."
Alexander Zverev went on to speak at length about the presence of fans at the 2021 edition of the Madrid Open. Zverev asserted that the tour was happy to play in front of spectators, even if they were limited in number due to the health restrictions.
The German also expressed hope that the COVID crisis gets resolved soon, so that fans can attend upcoming tournaments in a much higher capacity.
"It sucks giving speeches when nobody is in there in the stands," Alexander Zverev said. "So we're very happy to have you back to the percentage we're allowed to. And hopefully next year, we'll be back to normal and there's gonna be many, many of you here so we can celebrate tennis the way it should be."
"You deserved to win this title just as much as I did" - Alexander Zverev to Matteo Berrettini
Alexander Zverev also expressed sympathy for runner-up Matteo Berrettini during his speech. The German pointed out that he had been in Berrettini's shoes in the past, before acknowledging that losing a big final is never easy.
Zverev went on to cite his own 2020 US Open final defeat to Dominic Thiem as an example to the Italian, assuring him that he would soon win a big title and get over his heartbreak.
"I want to congratulate Matteo, he's had an amazing week I think, you deserved to win this title just as much as I did," Zverev said. "I know this moment is not great, I've been there, trust me. I've felt 100 times worse after the US Open final but when you win a title like this, you feel better."
Alexander Zverev added that he would be rooting for Matteo Berrettini to go all the way in his home event - the Italian Open - this week, assuming he sustains the level he showed at Madrid.
"And you're so much more special I think," Zverev said. "Next week is Rome, you're home town favorite there. [If] you're playing the way you're playing, I'll be cheering for you there as well."