Did Alexander Zverev pass up the chance of his career at Flushing Meadows? The question may seem premature for a 23-year-old well established in the top 10. But when you know the difficulty of winning a Grand Slam at the moment, the German must ask himself. Arrived in Cologne where he will compete in the second round against Fernando Verdasco on Thursday, he did not elude the subject at the pre-tournament press conference. Yes, this final of the US Open which escaped him by nothing in the tie-break of the 5th set (2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6)) against Dominic Thiem still runs through his head. And not just a little.
“I think about this 5th set every day 20 or 25 times. Even at night and in my dreams“, did not hesitate to confide Alexander Zverev. The sincerity of the man is not unlike that of Roger Federer when he made his return to the circuit a few weeks after his defeat at Wimbledon in 2019. When we has passed so close to the consecration, the invisible psychological wounds often take the longest to heal.
Zverev recovered from his cold snap at Roland
Because on the physical level, everything is fine. At least that’s what the German who had a fever in his round of 16 lost against Jannik Sinner at Roland Garros ensures. “I feel better, although I am still a little tired. I did not train until I arrived in Cologne at the end of last week. It was a normal cold, it also happens during a pandemic. The tests (to coronavirus, Editor’s note) all came back negative, and physically I’m in great shape“, he said.
To recover from a difficult defeat, the best remedy is victory. In Cologne, Zverev will therefore be keen to revive. But he will have to be wary of Fernando Verdasco, his first opponent already has a game behind him in Germany after his victory over Andy Murray.