There are those who, for two years, have put Alexander Zverev among the favorites for the final victory of the Slams, on the eve of the four most important tournaments of the year. Each time, however, the German has failed dramatically to make his appointment with history.
Ivan Lendl or not, the problem of the 21-year-old, in the Majors, is both physical and mental. To better concentrate on the current season, Zverev will miss, by his own admission, the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid. At the Australian Open, he reached the fourth round for the first time in his career, but his race was held back by a super performance by Milos Raonic.
It cannot just be a coincidence that his career seems like it has two lives. Or more precisely, that it goes at two different speeds. A triumphal and decisive march in tournaments played as best-of-three sets, and a slow march, which always jams, at the Slams.
Zverev has already won 10 titles, which include three ATP Masters 1000 and one ATP World Tour Finals. Encouraging results for the world no. 3, but brutally jarring with the quarter-finals at the French Open 2018, his best performance in the Slams.
Mentally, he always feels the pressure in the four most important events of the season. He is the inability to handle the pressure and his lack of solidity make him easy prey even for many outsiders. The expectations on the German are many, after all, but the older players are still much stronger and more able to manage their emotions.
Yet, at the 2018 ATP World Tour Finals, he defeated Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. However, at the French Open this year, he could have a great chance. On clay, Zverev has improved a lot, and perhaps it is where he has expressed his best tennis. Provided that the pressure does not once again become a burden too heavy to carry.