Alexander Zverev makes big Wimbledon claim amid Novak Djokovic uncertainty

Zverev shares his thoughts on Wimbledon title favorites and his own chances at The Championships.

by Dzevad Mesic
Alexander Zverev makes big Wimbledon claim amid Novak Djokovic uncertainty
© Getty Images Sport - Michael Regan

Alexander Zverev has made quite a claim during his pre-tournament press conference at Wimbledon as the German tennis star thinks this is "the most wide open Wimbledon" in two decades and he also considers himself a contender to win it all at The Championships for the first time. 

This year, it will mark one of the most specific Wimbledon editions since Roger Federer is retired - Rafael Nadal isn't playing - Andy Murray is unsure of competing in the singles although he is currently in the draw - and Novak Djokovic appears to be trending toward playing at The Championships despite having knee surgery earlier this month. 

When it comes to the younger ones, new world No. 1 Jannik Sinner won his first grass title in Halle last week but he still hasn't definitely established himself as a strong force on grass. On the other side, Carlos Alcaraz - who is the defending Wimbledon champion - suffered a shock round-of-16 defeat to Jack Draper last week and failed to defend his title at the Queen's Club. 

Considering everything, Zverev suggests there is no clear Wimbledon favorite. 

"I think this is the most open Wimbledon Championship that we maybe had in 20 years in terms of favorites, in terms of potential winners," Zverev said in his pre-tournament press conference at Wimbledon. 

"I think there's multiple guys who have a very decent chance of going deep and very decent chance of winning the tournament. I don't think it has been like that for maybe 20 years since before Roger started playing, right? After Roger came Rafa, Novak, Andy. I really feel it's different this year."

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Michael Regan

In the last five Wimbledon editions, Djokovic was absolutely dominant, making five finals and winning four titles. But after having surgery to repair his knee meniscus, there are question marks on how ready the 37-year-old will be at Wimbledon and how far he can go. 

However, on Friday, Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in a practice match and later issued an optimistic statement.

"I can tell you that I enjoyed myself really, really much today. I can tell you that pain-free tennis is the best tennis. I was pain-free, and I'm really glad. It was a great test obviously against one of the best players in the world," Djokovic said after Friday's practice.

Zverev feels he is a Wimbledon title contender this year

Zverve, who turned 27 in April, is set to make his eighth appearance at Wimbledon this year. Even though Zverev has been one of the best player on the ATP Tour in the last seven years, he has never made it past the round-of-16 at The Championships. In all other Grand Slams, the 27-year-old German at least once reached the semifinal. 

But Zverev - who made the Wimbledon round-of-16 in 2017 and 2021 - feels this might be his year at The Championships. 

"It's the first time I really feel like I'm here to be a competitor, to maybe win the title. I didn't feel like that previous years when I came here. I didn't feel like I was capable. I didn't believe I was capable," Zverev said.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

In the Wimbledon first round, Zverev will be facing Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena, who is ranked at No. 65 and is not known as a grass-court specialist. Addressing his Wimbledon chances, the fourth-seeded German admitted that he will probably need some luck to make a deep run at The All England Club.

"This is a tournament where maybe I need a bit more luck and maybe a few things to go my way, a few things to happen. More than maybe at other Grand Slams. If those things all come into place, if all those things maybe go my way for once, do I believe I can win? Then yes, I can," Zverev explained.

Zverev on having to defend his Olympic title after Wimbledon

Preparing for this year's Paris Olympics - which starts on July 26th - will be tricky for pretty much all top players since Wimbledon is finishing on July 14th and they won't have much time to prepare for the upcoming Summer Games that will be played on the clay courts of Roland Garros.

And Zverev - who won his first Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics - admits he won't have an easy job of repeating as an Olympic champion.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

"The Olympics is probably the most difficult trophy to win in tennis for us because we have that tournament once every four years. If you're not performing during that week, you have to wait another four years. Where at Grand Slams or other events, we have multiple per year," Zverev explained.

Alexander Zverev Wimbledon Novak Djokovic