Alexander Zverev admits he thought his career was over when he suffered gruesome ankle injury

Alexander Zverev on the ATP Tour

Alexander Zverev is back playing tennis and loving every minute of it following his extended injury absence as he has admitted that he thought he might never come back.

The German made a solid start to the 2022 season as he finished runner-up at the Madrid Open and the Open Sud de France before reaching the semi-final of the French Open in June.

Taking on heavy favourite Rafael Nadal for a place in the final, the third-seeded Zverev gave as good as he got with the Spaniard just edging the opening set 7-6 (10-8).

But disaster struck with the score tied at 6-6 in the second set as Zverev’s foot got stuck in the ground on centre court and he went over his ankle, collapsing in agony before leaving the court in a wheelchair. He later returned on crutches to confirm his retirement.

It was later revealed that he tore ligaments and underwent an operation, initially setting his sights on a return at the US Open in August.

However, he suffered several setbacks and during an interview with Sky Deutschland he was asked about his low points during his recovery.

“Definitely, I think there were a few of them. But the one was really when I thought I was healthy and when I thought I could come back in the Davis Cup,” he said.

“And the actual injury was also healed, but then I was told that the bones are not ready for the strain. Because I had extreme bone damage, had bone edema, and also a stress fracture in my bone at some point.”

He added: “That was a bit difficult for me mentally. Because then I had to start again and was told that now I can’t do anything for 6 weeks.

“That was not so nice and not so easy. But when the accident happened, the first thought was, ‘Your career is over. What if something is broken that you can never come back from or will never come back from?'”

Besides missing the US Open, Zverev was also unable to represent Germany in the Davis Cup Finals group matches in Hamburg, and the Davis Cup play-offs in Malaga in early December.

He finally returned to action at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia this week and he got some match time under his belt as he defeated Dominic Thiem, who is also on the road to recovery following a long injury layoff, in two super tie-breakers before losing against Daniil Medvedev in the best of three sets in the quarter-final.

“I’m happy to have played two matches,” Zverev told local media on Friday. “I was happy to be able to compete at this level and play with Daniil.

“Of course, the first set wasn’t great, but that was to be expected. But then I was happy with the level and also how I was moving in the second set. It shows that I am on the right path. I know there’s still a long way to go.”

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