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Zverev - 'I know the player that I was and I know that I can get back there'

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Alexander Zverev was playing some of the best tennis of his life last year at Roland-Garros. After knocking out Carlos Alcaraz he was in a heated battle with Rafael Nadal, about to head into a second set tiebreak in a grueling match that had already lasted three hours.

Tennis Express

Then disaster struck. Zverev fell turned his ankle on the clay in the backcourt and ended up being carted off the court. Soon, he’d undergo surgery to repair three torn ligaments in his right ankle and he hasn’t been the same since.

But the German is working his way back to form, slowly but surely.

He told reporters in Madrid on Tuesday that he feels close to top form, and just needs a few important wins to help him get over the hump.

And he said returning to Madrid, the scene of two of his biggest titles, triggers self-belief.

"It does make me realize that if I get back to 100 percent, that's where I can be,” he said. “It's all about me getting back and I know the player that I was and I know that I can get back there.

"How long it will take, that is up to me, that is up to God in a way and yeah, we will see how it goes..."

Zverev cites two narrow defeats at the hands of Daniil Medvedev, at Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo, as the type of battles he needs to come through before he can consider himself a true threat.

“Some weeks I feel so close,” he said. “I have some weeks, I feel like I can win the tournament again. Some weeks, like Indian Wells, I feel like if I can get past that Medvedev match, I can end up in the final and play the final against Alcaraz. Monte-Carlo, same thing, and then there's obviously weeks like Miami where I get a little bit injured. There's weeks like Munich where I don't quite play my best tennis again, and you feel like you're so far away.”

Zverev owns a 10-11 record on the season at the moment, and is coming off consecutive losses. Seeded 13 at Madrid, where he is a two-time champion with a 19-3 lifetime record, Zverev will open his bid for a third title with a second-round match with Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

The 26-year-old could find himself across the net from defending champion Alcaraz, who trounced him in last year’s final, in the round of 16, if the seeds hold in Madrid.

“For me, I think it's about winning those matches right now,” he said, referring to his tough losses to Medvedev. “It's about winning those very tight matches against great opponents and then you can say you are back but you definitely need to win one or two of those.”