French Open: Alexander Zverev fights third round in five-set match: clear criticism from John McEnroe

It looked like an easy victory in the first match for Alexander Zverev. 40: 0 on own serve.

But Sebastian Báez managed the early break and sent Zverev into a small crisis in the first match, which should last longer.

“The lost first game triggered a negative spiral for Alex,” analyzed Eurosport– Expert John McEnroe. “It’s unusual for a lost service to throw you out of rhythm that way. With Zverev, it was one and a half sets.”

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Zverev struggled with himself and the difficult conditions. The sometimes windy wind made it difficult for the 25-year-old. “I can not play worse than up to the score 2: 6, 0: 4,” said Zverev.

Match ball averted: Zverev averts the early finish here

John McEnroe: “Why on earth does he do that?”

For McEnroe, it was primarily due to a wrong tactic when the opponent served.

“I can not understand at all why a player who is almost two meters tall stands so far behind the baseline on the opponent’s first serve and second serve. On the ground – why does he do that? It was four meters at times. As a result , “Zverev Báez gave many opportunities to put pressure on him right after the return,” said the tennis legend.

“Maybe it was the tactics of his coach Sergi Buguera, I do not know. If Alex wants to get far here, he has to change that tactic anyway,” McEnroe said.

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Barbara Rittner criticizes Zverev’s passivity

Barbara Rittner also recognized too much passivity in Zverev in the first two sentences. “He was too far behind in the beginning. From the middle of the second set he became much more aggressive and played the passive out of the bones. He also approached short balls better,” said Die Eurosport-expert.

Rittner’s conclusion: “It was a lot of stress for another round match. If you fend off a match point, there is always a bit of luck. But in the end, Sascha’s experience paid off.”

Meanwhile, Zverev had already mentally said goodbye to Roland-Garros. “I’ve been thinking about where I’m going on vacation, what beach I’m going to,” he said.

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Zverev was already making holiday plans

The little catch-up in the second set triggered something in him: “I did not win the set anymore, but I realized I’m in the fight now.”

After the match, he did not want to deal with the reasons for his long start-up phase.

“You can not play good tennis every day for two weeks in a Grand Slam tournament. If it does not go well, you must always find a way to turn such matches around,” said Zverev.

This is also the difference between who is a true master and who is not. “Federer, Nadal and Djokovic always find a way in matches like this. I never reach their level, but I try to get a little close to them.”

Zverev self-critical after victory: “Could not have played worse”

Zverev chooses risky tactics with Matchball Baez

Real champions also fend off a match point every now and then. Zverev managed to do this with a score of 4: 5 in the fifth set – even though at that moment he served Báez on his strong forehand.

“I would surprise him with that. If it had not succeeded, I would be the idiot now. That’s how I am the hero,” he said with a smile.

Alexander Zverev’s journey at the French Open 2022 is not over yet. But next time, he should probably move a little further forward when the opponent serves.

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