ONEOutsiders often have no idea what tennis professionals should do without. The holiday is manageable, for each season lasts about ten and a half months, after which there is only a short period of time for a relaxing trip to Bali or the Maldives before the preparations for the following tennis year start again. On a daily basis, leisure time is also severely limited because players are constantly flying around the world, being on the field at tournaments day after day, there is also preparation and follow-up work such as body treatments and duties with sponsors or it. media. This Saturday in Paris, however, abstinence is particularly difficult for many tennis professionals: While playing for one of this year’s four most important titles in Roland Garros in the south-west of the metropolis, is a highlight of the football season. just a few kilometers further northeast in the Stade de France – the Champions League final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid.
The tough Real supporter Rafael Nadal has announced that he will be at the stadium – provided he is feeling well in the evening, and his round of 16 match against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime allows it on Sunday. Other tennis stars, who are also football fans, have gotten tickets through their sponsors, but let them run out with heavy hearts. The final could last until around midnight, before going to bed, which took even more time, Alexander Zverev from Hamburg explained: “I play a Grand Slam tournament here and have a match the day after the final.” words: If you want to become a champion, you have to do without the Champions League.
Hotel room instead of the Stade de France
Zverev, of course, will still watch the football match, in the hotel room on TV, so he can sleep as early as possible before his quarter-final match against a Spaniard he knows as little as most others on the tour. Bernabe Zapata Miralles is the name of the last man to stand in the way of Zverev’s dream quarter-final against Spanish young star and tournament favorite Carlos Alcaraz. The 25-year-old German should not underestimate him. “He has the week of his life here,” said the third in the world rankings, playing for the first time against the Valencia professional, who is 128 places lower than the same age.
It is not known if Zapata Miralles will also be up late to watch the Champions League final. What is certain is that the Spaniard is already more tired than Zverev. Zapata Miralles already has six fights in the bones: first three in qualifying, which he had to go through, then three in the main draw, strangely only against Americans. Zverev, on the other hand, did not leave much to be desired except for his five-set match against Argentine Sebastian Baez in the second round; unlike before, where he had to walk the entire distance in early rounds of Grand Slam tournaments and ran out of breath when it came.
For Zverev, it is always important to find the emotional balance on the pitch. On the one hand cool and concentrated to play his game, but on the other hand not to suppress his emotions. In his two-lap Paris marathon against Baez, he had lost his balance for a long time and was almost out of himself in the first one and a half sentences. Friday in his three-set victory over American Brandon Nakashima (7: 6, 6: 3, 7: 6), he was quite solid in style and emotional balance right from the start. “I wanted to be more active than in the previous round,” Zverev explained.
“I’m a big Klopp fan”
The Olympic champion from Tokyo will also sit quite balanced in front of the television when he watches the Champions League final. Because his favorite club FC Bayern is not there, he crosses fingers for some Germans. On the one hand, Real professional Toni Kroos, who is a big tennis fan and who Zverev knows very well. And on the other hand Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp: “I’m a big Jürgen Klopp fan, so I’m a bit of Liverpool FC,” Zverev admits.
From a German perspective, the nice thing about this year’s “premier class” of football is that in the end, a countryman will definitely hold the trophy in his hands. A few kilometers further on Roland Garro’s clay court tournament, all hope rests solely on Alexander Zverev. He will definitely have his first Grand Slam title, whether it’s in Paris or elsewhere: “Where I win the title,” he says, “is relatively late for me.”