Alexander Zverev gets very honest on his RG expectation for struggling Novak Djokovic

Zverev addresses Djokovic's and his own French Open chances.

by Dzevad Mesic
Alexander Zverev gets very honest on his RG expectation for struggling Novak Djokovic
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Rome Masters champion Alexander Zverev says he is 100 percent certain that we will see the best version of Novak Djokovic at the French Open and also highlights that Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz will be major contenders for the title if they are fully healthy.

Djokovic, who is set to return to the French Open as the defending champion, hasn't had an ideal preparation for the second Grand Slam of the year as he is just 4-2 on clay after playing only in Monte Carlo and Rome. In Rome, Djokovic's season took another low after the Serb shockingly suffered a 2-6 3-6 loss to Alejandro Tabilo in the third round. 

Djokovic's inconsistent results and a not-so-great clay season led to the Serb doing something he never does - he took a wildcard into this week's ATP 250 tournament in Geneva to get some additional preparations and matches leading up to the French Open. 

World No. 4 Zverev, who won his first title of the year in Rome this past Sunday after beating Nicolas Jarry 6-4 7-5, was asked in his post-final presser how he expects Djokovic to look at the French Open.

"Nole is going to be at his best. You'll see. It's just the way it is. Rafa is going to play a lot better than he did in Madrid and Rome. I'm certain about that," Zverev said.

Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic
Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Zverev was also asked about Sinner and Alcaraz - the Italian's French Open participation is in major doubt after he suffered a hip injury in Madrid, while the Spaniard has only played in Madrid so far this clay season due to a forearm injury.

"The other two, they just depend on health. If they're healthy, they're two of the best players in the world, for sure, and there's no question about it. Whether or not they are healthy, I cannot answer because I don't know. I'm not inside their body. I saw Jannik posted a picture of him practicing again, so I'm assuming he's fine and feeling good on the tennis court. Look, it's all about health. When they're healthy, they're two of the best players in the world," Zverev said.

Zverev honestly rates his French Open chances 

Before coming to Rome, Zverev wasn't particularly impressive on clay as he posted just a 4-3 record on the slowest tennis surface in his opening three tournaments. And before Zverev went 6-of-6 in Rome, he picked up some surprising losses like losing to Cristian Garin in Munich and ending on the losing side to Francisco Cerundolo in Madrid. 

Heading into the French Open, Zverev is now certainly feeling very confident after winning Rome. And addressing his French Open chances, the 27-year-old German says he believes he can beat anyone but also admits he is aware he can also lose to anybody. 

"Look, I've said it many times before, and I'm going to say it again: I'm somebody that I know when I don't play well, I can lose to anyone, but when I play well, I know I can beat anyone. That's my mindset. That's how I think about it. I know I have to focus on myself, to find my rhythm in Paris the way I did here. Then everything is on my own racquet," Zverev said.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Zverev on if he has unfinished business at the French Open

Over the last few years, Zverev has been pretty consistent at Roland Garros and has done pretty well as he was a semifinalist in each of the last three French Open editions. 

One of those three semifinal defeats was particularly heartbreaking and painful as Zverev was playing the tennis of his life when he suffered a devastating ligament injury and was forced to retire while in the middle of a big battle versus Rafael Nadal in the 2022 French Open semifinal. 

Going into his ninth French Open campaign, Zverev was asked if he feels he has some unfinished business at Roland Garros.

"That's an interesting question because obviously being there three times in the semifinals in a row, playing some of the best tennis of my life there when I injured my ankle, so in general it is always determined and marked in my calendar throughout the past few years. This year there's no exception. That's the one that I want to win. That's the one that I look forward the most maybe throughout the year. I'm going to do everything I can this year and we'll see where I can end up," Zverev explained.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

By winning Rome, Zverev has certainly made himself one of the favorites for the French Open title and it will be interesting to see how far the German can go in Paris this year.

Alexander Zverev Novak Djokovic French Open