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Qui gagnera Roland Garros en 2024 ? La résurrection de Stefanos Tsitsipas

At only 25 years old, Sascha Zverev has already won 19 titles. Among these twentyish trophies, there’s only one missing: a Grand Slam. He has checked all the other boxes: a collection of masters 1000, a Gold Medal at the Olympics and two ATP Finals.

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At each major tournament, Alexander Zverev affirms his determination and his ambition. Despite the years passing by, he seems persuaded to be able to win a Grand Slam. In 2020, he only needed a few more points to realize his dream (6/2 6/4 4/6 3/6 6/7), but Dominic Thiem was an unbeatable opponent. The latter lifted his first Grand Slam trophy under the eyes of a disillusioned Sascha Zverev.

US Open 2020 : Sascha Zverev face à Dominic Thiem

This loss could have destroyed the young German mentally, but it wasn’t the case. He used this disillusionment to come back stronger in 2021 – the best season of his career so far. His consistent performance at the Australian Open – he lost to Novak Djokovic 7/6 2/6 4/6 6/7 – is only the beginning of the level of play he reveals during the season. He played six finals and won as many. The most symbolic one is his gold medal won at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

So, what is the obstacle that Alexander Zverev is facing? The stakes of victory. When he realizes the significance of his win, his game suffers. In the final of the 2021 ATP Finals, he served for the championship against Daniil Medvedev. During the match, he constructed his game around brilliant first serves. Nevertheless, in the last game, he held back his strikes for fear of double faults. When the victory was offered to him, he started to doubt the tool which allowed him to dominate the match. This pattern keeps recurring in his career.

ATP Finals 2021 : Sascha Zverev remporte un second titre

Alexander Zverev’s 2022 season

The most striking example of this fear is the 2022 Australian Open. Novak Djokovic was disqualified; Rafael Nadal’s state was unclear. After his astonishing 2021 season, he was one of the favorites. Before the beginning of the tournament, Sascha Zverev stated his will to become a Grand Slam winner. Full of confidence, he seemed ready to take his chance in an open draw. He didn’t drop a set in the first three matches; he then collapsed in the round of sixteen against Denis Shapovalov (3/6 6/7 3/6). It was, according to him, one of the worst matches of his career.

Open d’Australie : l’élimination d’Alexander Zverev

This disillusionment was the beginning of a string of disappointing performances. After early losses in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami, he seemed to have recovered his form during the clay season. Despite two finals and as many semi-finals, he didn’t win any title.

The French Open began. All eyes weren’t on Alexander Zverev but rather on Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal. The German saved two match points in a chaotic second round against Sebastian Baez (2/6 4/6 6/1 6/2 7/5). Then, as the matches went by, he got stronger. He demonstrated high-flying tennis to beat Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals (6/4 6/4 4/6 7/6).

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Sascha Zverev faced Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. During this astonishing match, his old demons caught up with him. The young player dominated the match. His ball trajectories and his aggressiveness let his opponent powerless. While Alexander Zverev had multiple occasions to win the first set, he let Rafa come back in the set – which the latter ended up winning in the tiebreak. The second set seemed to take the same direction as the first one. Sascha Zverev, at the top of his game, faltered on the most important points. Then, his body failed him: while he hit a forehand, he fell to the ground. The ligaments in his ankle broke.

Roland Garros 2022 : Sascha Zverev se blesse lors de son match contre Rafael Nadal

Since this heavy injury, Alexander Zverev hasn’t played a single match on the ATP Tour. For the first time of his career, the German has to face a physical setback. His comeback, planned for the 2023 Australian Open is highly anticipated; and could be the start of a new dynamic in his career. With a new objective, to regain his former level, Sascha Zverev might reach new heights in tennis.

Marnie Abbou

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