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"I no longer want to play nice matches, I want to win" - Alexander Zverev on disappointing Australian summer

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 22 Feb 2021
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Alexander Zverev has rated his trip to Australia as a 'disappointment', after failing to win a title in Melbourne. Zverev was solid during the ATP Cup as he helped Germany reach the semifinals, but then lost in four sets to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open - despite the fact that the Serb was playing with a muscle tear.

Although he lived up to his seeding in Melbourne, the seventh-ranked Zverev was widely expected to at least push Djokovic to give sets in the quarterfinals. In that context, Zverev has claimed he is no longer satisfied with playing well at this stage of his career, and that he wants to focus on winning titles instead.

"I thought I showed very good tennis, but somewhere it was also a disappointing trip for me," Zverev said in an interview with Eurosport. "In my career now, I am where I no longer want to play nice tournaments or nice matches, but I want to win. Unfortunately, I didn't do that here."

Alexander Zverev insisted that he can compete with the top players now, as evidenced by his two matches against Novak Djokovic in Melbourne (Zverev also took Djokovic to three sets in the ATP Cup group stages). However, the German feels that the positives from his Australian campaign are not enough to offset the disappointments.

"(The trip showed) that I can play with the best and also win against the best," Zverev added. "So I take a lot of positive things with me. But all in all it was disappointing that I was out in the quarter-finals, even though it was against the No. 1 in the world."

After winning three Masters titles and the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals during the 2017-2018 seasons, Alexander Zverev peaked at No. 3 in the ATP rankings. However, the German has been unable to replicate the same success over the past two years.

Zverev did reach his first Slam semifinal at the Australian Open in 2020, and followed that up with his first Slam final at the US Open. But the 23-year-old has picked up just three titles in the last two years, with none of them coming above the ATP 250 level.

Would like to make tennis more popular in Germany: Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev with the German team at the 2021 ATP Cup
Alexander Zverev with the German team at the 2021 ATP Cup

During the interview, Alexander Zverev also revealed he would like to see tennis become more popular in his home country.

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Tennis has seen a revival in Germany in recent years, thanks to the rise of Zverev and the success of three-time Slam champion Angelique Kerber. But the situation is still a far cry from the glory days of Boris Becker and Steffi Graf.

Zverev referred to Kerber's success while expressing hope that the rest of the German players continue to do well on the global stage.

"(I would like to) make tennis more popular in Germany," Alexander Zverev said. "Angelique Kerber has done a lot with her Grand Slam victories in recent years. And I hope that the German boys will do something too."
"(I hope) that I will always go far in the Grand Slams," he added. "But others like (Jan-Lennard) Struff and our doubles boys, Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, who have already won two Grand Slams, also have a lot to do with it."
Published 22 Feb 2021, 18:44 IST
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