The elusive Alexander Zverev takes on Roland Garros

Alexander Zverev after his victory in the first round of the Roland-Garros tournament on September 27 in Paris.

What is the perception of a player? At the start, with his racket and his ATP results sheet. Then it is a question of painting a first picture with a few more intimate touches: his family, his background, but also the way of standing on a court. In his genre, Alexander Zverev has often given his support to reinforce the received ideas tackled on him since his precocious hatching in 2014, at 18 years old.

From this first meeting, the German – opposed Wednesday, September 30 in the second round of Roland-Garros to French Pierre-Hugues Herbert – kept his long blond hair, his gold necklace around his neck but also this great teenage side of almost 2m forced out of bed after a night spent on Fortnite. At 23, we’re still a big kid these days, but not in high-level sport where maturation must be instantaneous.

The newest US Open finalist said nothing else in an interview with Guardian in January. “At my age, the others barely finish their studies and start looking for a job , recalled then the one who swears no longer sees himself as ” a young man for a while now. As painful as it was, his year 2019 helped him in this direction.

Between his father’s health problems and a double separation (with his girlfriend and his lifelong agent, Patricio Apey), Zverev (seed number 6 in Paris) dragged his spleen between two tournaments and two airports. His level of play remained decent – we do not finish 7e world without a few wins – but the doubt arose.

“We always look at the half-empty glass with him”

Even his former trainer let him go publicly, something rather rare in the civilized world of tennis. Sacha [son surnom] is not in a position to win a Grand Slam tournament at this time , advances Juan Carlos Ferrero in April 2019. To justify his point, the winner of Roland-Garros in 2003 evokes, among other criticisms, a Zverev angry with punctuality and more interested in updating his Instagram account than in his job. In short, a slap in the face.

The accused also gave his own to deserve such a portrait, hiding his discomfort behind this aplomb sometimes close to complacency. In 2019, the pleasure had left me, he admits in his defense. Not just in tennis, in everything else too. For a while, I was no longer myself. And we had forgotten, but the real Zverev has already beaten Nadals, Federer and Djokovic, won the Masters in 2018 and made the Top 3 at not even 20 years old.

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