Unable to hide his emotions following the French Open semifinal loss, Alexander Zverev insists that he is not “satisfied” by simply being a part of great matches. The German player was on a roll in Paris this week, but lost out to Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in a thrilling semifinal of the Roland Garros. After the match, Zverev admitted, “I’m not at a stage anymore where great matches are something that I’m satisfied with. Today [means] nothing. I lost. I’m not in the final. Was it a good match? Yes. But at the end of the day, I’m going to fly home tomorrow. There’s nothing positive about that.”
“I don’t particularly care about [reaching the] semi-finals. [It] might sound bad in a way or [it] might sound arrogant. I’m not trying to be arrogant. I’m just saying it how it is. I wouldn’t have cared about a final either, to be honest. I didn’t win the tournament. Wimbledon is in two weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to that.”
Sixth seed Zverev came back from two sets down to take the match to a fifth set. Most importantly, the World No. 6 had Tsitsipas at 0/40 in the first game of the fifth set. “I started to play proper tennis in the third set,” said Zverev. “Against someone like Stefanos, it might be too late. Today, if I broke him in the first game of the fifth set, maybe the outcome would be different. [But] I didn’t. I can’t go down two-sets-to-love against a top player like Stefanos and expect to win every single time.”
The German seemed content with the way he played during the clay season but insisted that he must start matches better. “Today, during this tournament [and] during the whole clay court season, I felt like I was playing well,” said Zverev. “I was playing well enough to go deep. But at the end of the day, coming out of the match and playing the first two sets like I did… yes, you can win the match, but it makes it extremely difficult. I almost did it, but I [have] got to start better. When I come into these matches, I [have] got to be a hundred per cent from the first point.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas was a relieved man after overcoming Zverev in a thriller to reach his first Grand Slam final. “It means a lot. It was a difficult match. It was a match full of emotions, full of so many different phases that I went through. So, in the end, it was just such a big relief I was able to close it in such a good way. It was just exhausting,” he admitted. “It was difficult to handle all of these things and put them together, kind of compromise on some others. I was able to deliver and close the match when I had to. I’m proud of myself.”
Tsitsipas led by two sets before Zverev fought back to level it up and forced a decider. The Greek player then saved three break points from 0/40 at the start of the fifth. “I was trying to be in a good relationship with myself and get encouraged and push forward for something good to happen. I knew I was not done at that point, I had more to give. I was playing much better. All I had to do was put in the concentration,” Tsitsipas said.
“I’m someone who fights. I was not willing to give up yet. I think I did few things right that worked in my favour. I was still alive. I was still able to come back to the match. It was a breath of fresh air, that first game. I felt revitalized.”