Does Alexander Zverev, a former tennis brat, finally mature in Paris?

In the alleys of Roland-Garros, very clever what had seen him come before the start of this fortnight. Camped at number three in the world for a time -2017 precisely-, Alexander Zverev could sit on the world throne on Sunday 5 June. To do this, the equation is “simple” on paper for the German: to win the first Grand Slam of his career, Porte d’Auteuil.

Before potentially making a double blow, he will first have to evict, on Friday in the semifinals, the master of the square, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic’s top scorer.

In the quarterfinals, this Tuesday, the 25-year-old domesticated the fiery young Carlos Alcaraz, 6 years old.e global. Announced as one of the favorites after a thunderous start to the season, the 19-year-old Spaniard suddenly showed his age, trapped by the event, the excitement and his lack of experience.

“I told him on the net that he would win this tournament many times, not just once. I hope to be able to win it before it starts beating us all and we don’t stand a chance.”joked (only halfway) Zverev, who had so far lost all eleven games to the top 10 Grand Slam players.

Also read: Roland-Garros: revenge, Alexander Zverev dominates Carlos Alcaraz and reaches the semifinals

His scream of rage at the end of the match, almost a roar, showed immense relief along with pride. That he was finally able to maintain his rank and honor a (capitalized) Grand Slam nomination.

Serial disappointments at the Grand Slam

From the moment we saw his tall figure (1.98 m) gravitate, we almost forgot that Alexander Zverev, who became a professional in 2013, is “only” 25 years old. The double winner of the Master’s (2018, 2021) – which brings together the eight best players of the season at the end of the year – has been dreaming of winning the Grail for a few years.

But whether in Melbourne, New York, London or during the meeting at Porte d’Auteuil, it has so far stalled. First physicist: unable to keep pace in five sets, not so long ago. Then count: “At the beginning of my career, I had a lot of problems with the Grand Slams, admitted at the beginning of the fortnight. I hope to continue to be stable in the future. »

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A 2020 U.S. Open finalist against Dominic Thiem, he had served for the match before leaving the courtesy to the Austrian, who lifted his first Grand Slam trophy in his place. Semi-finalist in Paris in 2021, beaten by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the reigning Olympic champion has lost enough time for his taste. “I’m not 20 or 21, I’ve said it several times. I’m at the point where I want to win and I’m supposed to win too. ” he insisted on Tuesday after his victory over Carlos Alcaraz (6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6).

In front of the Spaniard, who three weeks ago had inflicted a correction on him in Madrid, the German took revenge, in style. Three hours of fierce battle during which he played the metrons in service and vice versa, his two main weapons. But it was probably not so much in the game as in his patience and management of his nerves that most impressed him.

“I knew the game would be long and very physical. I shouldn’t show too much of my emotions, because that drains your energy. I had to keep calm throughout the game, even though I missed chances in the third [set], which by the way I lost. »

As the crowd leaned closer to Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev didn’t move a finger. Nor did he get on his nerves with the slightest racket, his favorite whipping child.

Bloodshed in Acapulco

A few weeks ago, it fell back into its flaws, shattering a bit more a picture already contrasted. During the tournament in Acapulco (Mexico), the right-hander was left out of his hinges after a double game lost in the super tie-break with the Brazilian Marcelo Melo. He hit the referee’s chair three times with his racket, sat down, then stood up to insult the referee and give the final blow with the sieve.

Immediately excluded from the tournament, he had to pay a $ 40,000 fine (35,600 euros) before receiving a two-month suspension, plus an additional $ 25,000 fine from the ATP. “The fine and the suspension are suspensive, provided that, during a probationary period ending on February 22, 2023 [un an après l’incident], the player does not commit any other violation of the disciplinary code “. wrote in his press release the body that manages the interests of men’s tennis, quite magnanimous in the face of this bloodshed.

Then the player had “apologize” in a post on his Instagram account, claiming to have “I apologized privately to the chair referee”after his fit of rage “unacceptable”. A few days ago, at Roland-Garros, the world number three spoke for the first time about the difficulties he faces off-piste. ” Some players talk about it more often and more openly. I don’t like doing that. But this year I struggled a lot. I went through a lot of difficulties, I wasn’t very happy, I think sometimes I was pretty close to depression. ” he expressed.

Even at a press conference, an exercise he hated for a long time, the German showed a wisdom we had not known until then.

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