Alexander Zverev – why it is worrying to look in the rearview mirror

Alexander Zverev summed up very nicely what is important for a top player like him who formulates big goals. “You do not just have to talk the talk – you also have to go for the walk,” the Olympic champion told lifestyle magazine “Haute Living”.

So do not just talk, act.

And yes, there is an urgent need for action from the man who offensively and publicly proclaimed his leap to first place in the rankings and wins Grand Slam events.


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It was only two and a half months ago that the rug appeared to have been rolled out for Zverev’s takeover of tennis. Novak Djokovic was not allowed to compete at the Australian Open, which put the Hamburg player in a position to take the lead by winning the tournament in Melbourne. He would have brought the first Grand Slam title to the account a passerby.

Zverev loses its consistency

“Only five wins to go to number one,” it reads Eurosport.deafter Zverev, the classic started with two immaculate victories against Daniel Altmaier and John Millman. The targeted double hit went wrong, the 24-year-old lost in the round of 16 against Denis Shapovalov.
Which brings us to one of the big “problems” that Zverev faces. Shapovalov, 22, is one of the six top 15 players who are younger than the German and are already breathing uncomfortably in the neck.
The sextet is completed by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Félix Auger-Aliassime, the newly crowned Miami champion Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

Zverev: Six kids – one problem

Of course, they all orient themselves towards the professionals who are in front of them. Means: They analyze Zverev’s game with their team, which carries the risk that the youngsters will act strategically more and more smartly. Already, they are pretty good at countering the Beijing gold medalist at the highest level.

Out in three sets: How Zverev lost his quarterfinal in Miami

The last six Grand Slam competitions show this: Zverev failed at Sinner (French Open 2020), Tsitsipas (French Open 2021), Auger-Aliassime (Wimbledon 2021) and Shapovalov (Australian Open 2022).

He admitted the other two defeats at the US Open and Australian Open last season against former champion Novak Djokovic. The flashback reveals that it is no longer just the 3 big ones that stand between Zverev and his dreams.

Zverev’s plan: “Enjoy the pressure too”

So it was a true attempt to put new impulses in Miami with test coach Sergi Bruguera. Zverev needs to find his consistency again, then he’s hard to beat with his excellent serve and formidable play from baseline.

He has all the abilities to keep the younger competition in check, and when Zverev is in top form, Zverev is no longer an outsider against any player in the world.

It is not for nothing that the direct comparisons against the six challengers mentioned paint a friendly picture. Only against Tsitsipas 1.98 m Schlaks has a negative record. In addition, the Greek and the Norwegian Ruud are only about a year younger. The time is far from playing against Zverev, who is just 24 years old.

Zverev’s Australian Open – between aspiration and reality

And the increasing pressure from season to season? As a top player, you have to “learn to handle it and enjoy this part, because the people at the top do not have pressure for no reason after all,” Zverev rejects. Germany’s number one wants and still needs to learn mentally.

Flip out and focus – what Zverev needs to work on

On the one hand, it’s about maintaining focus during long fights, on the other hand, about channeling anger better. Shortly afterwards, he described Acapculco’s scandal when he hit the referee’s chair with his racket after a double defeat as the “biggest mistake of his career”.

He was “embarrassed when I walk through the locker room,” Zverev admitted.

It will be interesting to see how he handles frustration in the future, for the increasingly criticized racket food on the pitch is also part of his repertoire.

Zverev knows he has to be world-class both play-wise and mentally to live up to his own ambitions. That is the task, because otherwise he may soon no longer see Sinner, Alcaraz and Co. in hindsight – because they overtook him …

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