Struggling Alexander Zverev warned he could fall out of top 50 – ‘He has to flip the switch’
Alexander Zverev was on a roll 12 months ago as he was sitting pretty in the ATP Rankings and playing some of the best tennis of his career, but then misfortune struck and now he is struggling to regain form and in real danger of losing his way.
The German was on a high in May 2022 as he finished runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open and followed it up with a run to the semi-final of the Italian Open. He then turned the tables on Alcaraz at the French Open as he beat the Spaniard in the quarter-final.
But then a stroke of bad luck saw his season end prematurely as he injured his ankle during his semi-final match against Nadal at Roland Garros. He required surgery and initially had hopes of returning to action during the North American hard-court swing, but the injury was a lot more serious than initially anticipated.
He only made comeback at the start of the 2023 season, but it has been real battle with his best display a run to the semi-final in Dubai in February. Last week he lost 6-1, 6-2 against Alcaraz in the round of 16 in Madrid and he has dropped to No 22.
Former German No 1 Tommy Haas fears Zverev will slip further down the rankings if he doesn’t turn things around quickly.
“Zverev has had a lot of ups and downs for a long time, which is quite normal after such a long injury. But at some point he has to flip the switch,” he told Sport Bild. “He has to defend points for the next three or four weeks. Otherwise he falls out of the top 30, 40 or 50 in the world. Then the strong opponents threaten early in the tournaments. This situation is new to him.”
He added: “If he’s in top form, feels good and has confidence, there are only four or five players in the world who can beat him.”
The 26-year-old still has high hopes of winning a Grand Slam, but Haas warns that the “competition never sleeps” as the likes of Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune – to name just a few players – have all moved ahead of him.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to achieve his last major career goal – winning the Grand Slam tournament,” he said.
“The next star is here in Alcaraz. And you still have Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Rune, [Jannik] Sinner, [Lorenzo] Musetti. The Americans come with [Taylor] Fritz, [Tommy] Paul and [Frances] Tiafoe. The competition never sleeps.”
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