Alexander Zverev accuses ATP after the final in Madrid – why the Olympic champion is right

In February, Alexander Zverev set a bizarre record. At 4:55 local time, the Olympic champion converted his match point against Jenson Brooksby in Acapulco, Mexico. Later – one can also say earlier – no tennis professional has finished a match since the records began.
“At 05.00 the stadium is still quite full here,” said the native of Hamburg afterwards, praising Acapulco’s special energy. Just a few hours later, Zverev lined up in doubles and created scandal after the defeat by hitting the referee’s chair.

But that’s not the reason the 25-year-old is tired of night shifts. Zverev is much more annoyed that night surgeries have now become a regular phenomenon. The poison is for the biorhythm, for adequate recovery phases and equal opportunities.

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This is what it looks like Markus Zoecke in an interview with Eurosport.de. The former top 50 professional talks about an “imposition” in light of the extremely late fighting times. You feel like you have been “shot by the wolf” when you have to return to the field just half a day after playing games at night.

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“During a game, you are full of adrenaline, so you do not fall asleep immediately when you lie down. After a match, there are still press appointments, massages and the way back to the hotel,” the 53-year-old explains. -old.

Zoecke, who won the ATP tournament in Sun City, South Africa in 1994 and also served for the German Davis Cup team, has fond memories of matches that lasted late into the evening. “I always liked playing in the Night Session, even if it took a long time. But those were other times, it happened to me maybe three times in ten years.”

Zverev shoots at ATP: “I’m tired”

However, Zverev made no secret of what he thought of the long evenings at Madrid’s Caja Mágica. “ATP’s work was an absolute disgrace this week,” said the third in the world rankings after the clear 3: 6, 1: 6 defeat in the final against Carlos Alcaraz.

Zverev: “… then you’re dead the next day”

To chalk Zverev up on the harsh words as an apology would be wrong. For the fact is: In the quarterfinals against Félix Auger-Aliassime he was on the field until around 12:30, in the semifinals against Stefanos Tsitsipas he made the victory ready at 01:10 at night.

“The fact that the match with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals is not scheduled until 20:00 and then Zverev against Auger-Aliassime is not possible. It is far too late,” complains Zoecke. “If you then have the next match in the late afternoon, it feels like a match in the morning – and we know Sascha is not a morning person.”

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Zverev himself admitted that the fatigue factor plays a big role. “Two days ago I went to bed at four-thirty, the next day, at 5.20. If you stay up that long, you’re dead the next day.”

For comparison: Alcaraz finished the work at 18.45 in the quarter-final cup against Rafael Nadal and at 20.05 in the semi-final victory against Novak Djokovic. But even the champion of Madrid was sometimes late on his feet. In the start against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Alcaraz was on the field until after midnight.

Zoecke suggests changes: “You have to discuss it”

Such times, Zverev claimed, also hurt the tournaments and the sport itself. “I’m sorry for the final we played. It could have been a very good match, a fantastic match,” said the man from Hamburg. Due to the wild early days of the last few days, it was not possible for him to “play his level”. He had “no coordination on the serve and the basics”. “I had absolutely no chance of being myself.”

Highlights for the final: Zverev also clears the Tsitsipas of the road

Zoecke can understand the descriptions of the German number one. It is necessary to respond. “You have to discuss how to prevent this problem. But it’s not like you can just decide to let everything happen earlier in the day. The situation is more complex. The television with its contracts and broadcast times dictates a lot in this respect. ” Emphasizes the former world number 48.

Nevertheless, there will be movement in the matter when stars like Zverev go public with such massive criticism. One thing seems certain: ATP can no longer sit out on the subject.

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