"I played horrible... a very, very bad match" - Alexander Zverev deflated after shock Japan Open 1R exit

Alexander Zverev deflated after shock Japan Open 1R exit
Alexander Zverev deflated after shock Japan Open 1R exit

Alexander Zverev suffered a shock opening-round loss at the 2023 Japan Open, losing to Jordan Thompson in straight sets.

Zverev, seeded No. 3, came into Tokyo as one of the favorites for the title, but succumbed to the Aussie 6-3, 6-4 without putting up much of a fight on Monday. A good run at the ATP 500 event this week would have helped the German greatly in his quest for confirming a spot in the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin; instead, Zverev now leaves the Asian swing with a bitter taste in his mouth.

Speaking to the press after the loss, the 26-year-old admitted that he played "horrible" on the night and that it was a "very, very bad match" from his end. At the same time, he also gave credit to Thompson where it was due, pointing out that he served very well.

"Today I played horrible. He played quite good, he served quite good, but it's just a very, very bad match for me. I don't know what to say," Alexander Zverev said, as quoted by Eurosport.

Up next, Thompson will take on either Ben Shelton or Taro Daniel in the second round of the Japan Open. He also spoke about the victory over Zverev, emphasizing that he benefited from taking the court with the self-belief that he could get it done against the far more experienced German.

“I haven’t done anywhere near as much as he has but when I get on the court with these guys, I’ve got to believe that I can beat them. If you don’t believe it, you may as well not be out here, so I’m just really enjoying the challenge,” Jordan Thompson said.

Alexander Zverev No. 7 in the ATP Live Race to Turin

China Open Tennis
China Open Tennis

Despite his first-round exit from the 2023 Japan Open, Alexander Zverev remains in the running to grab a spot at the ATP Finals in Turin. He is currently at No. 7 in the Live Race, nearly 1,100 points behind the cut-off tally of 4,555.

With Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner already qualified for the tournaments, the remaining four slots are currently occupied by Andrey Rublev (4,275 points), Stefanos Tsitsipas (3,615 points), Zverev (3,415 points) and Holger Rune (3,110 points). Fighting closely with them for the honor of reaching the year-end championships are: Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Tommy Paul and Alex de Minaur.

Alexander Zverev is scheduled to play next at the Vienna Open in the final week of October, after which he will be in action at the Paris Masters to complete the indoor season.

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