French Open: Alexander Zverev fights his way into the third round in a five-set match: clear criticism from John McEnroe

French Open: Alexander Zverev fights his way into the third round in a five-set match: clear criticism from John McEnroe
Written by insideindyhomes

It looked like an easy first game win for Alexander Zverev. 40:0 on your own serve.

But Sebastian Báez managed the early break and sent Zverev into a small crisis in the first game, which should last longer.

“That lost first game triggered a negative spiral for Alex,” analyzed Eurosport-Expert John McEnroe. “It’s unusual that a lost service throws you out of rhythm like that. With Zverev it was a set and a half.”

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Zverev struggled with himself and the difficult conditions. The sometimes gusty wind made things difficult for the 25-year-old. “I can’t play worse than up to the score of 2: 6, 0: 4,” said Zverev.

Match ball fended off: Zverev averts the early end here

John McEnroe: “Why on earth is he doing that?”

For McEnroe, this was primarily due to a wrong tactic when the opponent served.

“I can’t understand at all why a player who is almost two meters tall stands so far behind the baseline on the opponent’s first serve and second serve. On earth – why is he doing that? It was four meters at times . As a result, Zverev gave Báez many opportunities to put pressure on him right after the return,” said the tennis legend.

“Maybe that was his coach Sergi Buguera’s tactic, I don’t know. If Alex wants to go far here, he has to change that tactic anyway,” said McEnroe.

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Barbara Rittner criticizes Zverev’s passivity

Barbara Rittner also recognized too much passivity in Zverev in the first two sentences. “He was too far behind at the beginning. From the middle of the second set he became much more aggressive and played the passive out of his bones. He also approached short balls better,” said Die Eurosport-expert.

Rittner’s conclusion: “That was a lot of stress for a second-round match. If you fend off a match point, there is always a bit of luck involved. But in the end Sascha’s experience paid off.”

In the meantime, Zverev had already mentally said goodbye to Roland-Garros. “I’ve been thinking about where I’m going on vacation, what beach I’m going to,” he said.

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Zverev was already making vacation plans

The little catch-up in the second set triggered something in him: “I didn’t win the set anymore, but I realized that I’m in the match now.”

After the match, he didn’t want to deal with the reasons for his long start-up phase.

“You can’t play good tennis every day for two weeks in a Grand Slam tournament. If it’s not going well, you always have to find a way to turn such matches around,” said Zverev.

This is also the difference between who is a true champion and who isn’t. “Federer, Nadal and Djokovic always find a way in matches like this. I’ll never reach their level, but I’m trying to get a little close to them.”

Zverev self-critical after victory: “Couldn’t have played worse”

Zverev chooses risky tactics with Matchball Baez

Real champions also fend off a match point every now and then. Zverev managed to do this with a score of 4: 5 in the fifth set – although at that moment he served Báez on his strong forehand.

“I wanted to surprise him with it. If it hadn’t worked out, I’d be the idiot now. That’s how I’m the hero,” he said with a smile.

Alexander Zverev’s journey at the French Open 2022 is not over yet. But next time he should probably move a little further forward when the opponent serves.

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