Comment: Crestfallen Alexander Zverev is broken and he needs to find a quick fix
He looked like a man bereft of ideas, a lost soul in a tennis wilderness. As Alexander Zverev attempted to find the words to explain his latest failure in a Grand Slam tournament, his world appeared to have fallen in around him.
It was not just the fact he had lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to Jiri Vesely in a compelling contest on the redesigned Court No,1 at Wimbledon, as this was not the first setback of 2019 for a broken Zverev. It was the cumulative effect of the beatings that have taken their toll.
Like a punch drunk boxer who had taken one too many jabs, the fallen star who has long been tipped to rise to the throne when it eventually vacated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cut a lonely figure in a Wimbledon press room that could only feel sympathy for his plight.
“It was kind of a typical Grand Slam match for me. I started off well, then one or two things don’t go my way, and everything kind of a little bit falls apart,” admitted a brutally honest Zverev, who didn’t try to disguise his despair in front of his audience.
“I’m not very high on confidence right now. When I get to the important moments, I had, what, five, six breakpoints in the fourth set alone, can’t take any of those. I had a Love-40, a 15-40. I’m down one breakpoint myself and he takes it immediately, where I miss an easy volley. I didn’t lose this match on tennis. It’s just, yeah, my confidence is below zero right now.”
Zverev went on to open up on his torment, as he admitted he lacked the mental strength to compete in the game’s biggest tournaments.
“It’s just what happens with me. Physically I’m fine. I can play 10 sets, no problem. I don’t really get tired,” he continued. “Mental, I mean, I get down on myself a lot. But, yeah, I don’t think it’s neither of those because mentally I showed I’m quite strong in the last few years. It’s different things I think right now.
“Life is also one thing. Everything that happens outside the court affects you. In the last two days, I would say are very rough for me personally. I’m not going to get into details, but I’m just saying. I have to fix that to play well on the court.”
Zverev’s ongoing legal battle with his former agent is not helping his cause, but this dashing 22-year-old needs to find a way to banish his demons and allow the talent lurking inside him to overflow as many still believe it can.
Federer is an example of a player who needed time to harness his genius before he found the right balance and Zverev has to hope that script will be written for him when his tennis epitaph is penned.
For now, more questions than answers hover over a player who has yet to make a breakthrough when it matters most.
He has time to find a solution, but it appears that Zverev is still looking for answers to a conundrum that is getting more complicated by the week.
More from Tennis365:
2023 Australian Open women’s final info, form, H2H, preview: Elena Rybakina vs Aryna Sabalenka
All the info you need ahead of the 2023 Australian Open women’s final.
Elena Rybakina: Why the quiet girl is set to dominate Grand Slam tennis
Elena Rybakina could be an all-timer.
Mats Wilander expects Elena Rybakina to make ’10 grand slam finals’
Kazakhstan’s Rybakina beat Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-3 to set up a final with Belarusian fifth-seed Sabalenka.
Australian Open day 11: Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina reach women’s final
The story of the 11th day of action from Melbourne Park.
Aryna Sabalenka books power battle with Elena Rybakina in Australian Open final
Sabalenka beat Magda Linette 7-6 (1) 6-2 to reach her first grand slam singles final.
Novak Djokovic plunged into fresh controversy and he needs to fix it quickly
Novak Djokovic needs to do all he can to clean up the mess created by his father as quickly as possible.
WATCH: Andy Murray shares hilarious mock lipreading video from Thanasi Kokkinakis clash
Andy Murray saw the funny side of a TikTok video from his Australian Open second round win.
Novak Djokovic still motivated by Rafael Nadal rivalry
That Grand Slam record is on Novak Djokovic’s mind for sure.
Elena Rybakina clinches straight sets semi-final win over Victoria Azarenka
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated Victoria Azarenka to reach her second grand slam final at the Australian Open.