German tennis star Alexander Zverev was in great spirits ahead of the Adria Tour event in Zadar as he joked during his pre-tournament press conference. Zverev, ranked at No. 7 in the world, participated in the first leg of the Adria Tour -- which took place in Belgrade over the last weekend.
In Belgrade, Zverev was drawn into the same group as world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the two clashed against each other. Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, defeated Zverev in three sets 4-0 1-4 4-2 but it wasn't enough for him to make it past the group stage as he needed a straight-set win.
"I don't want to play with Novak anymore, I have had enough. Joke aside, we enjoy Zadar, the sea and the nature. Croatia is a beautiful country. I hope we will enjoy it just as much when matches start," Zverev, said per Sport Klub.
Besides Djokovic and Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Andrey Rublev, Borna Coric, Marin Cilic, Danilo Petrovic and Pedja Krstin will also play in Zadar. Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, also failed to make it past the group stage in Belgrade last weekend.
"I am honored to be part of this group. We haven't competed for a long time and it's very nice to return to the court and feel the charms of one tournament," Dimitrov said. Just two days before the event, world No. 14 Rublev accepted Djokovic's invitation to play in Zadar.
"It's nice to compete after so much time. The weather is great and I already enjoy it here. I have been to Croatia before and I gladly returned here," Rublev said.
One of the main attractions at this week Adria Tour will be Coric and Cilic
The local fans will have a chance to see two top-ranked Croatian players in action as they will be hoping that either Coric and Cilic will win the title.
"Thank you all. I am very happy to be here. Special thanks to Novak who organized everything. Whenever I played here, the atmosphere was superb and I can’t wait to get started," Coric said. Meanwhile, Cilic said: "After a long break, good tennis awaits us.
We all miss the competition and I believe that there will be great and relaxed points. We played the Davis Cup in Zadar and we are sure that great atmosphere will be repeated now." The Adria Tour is set to get a new winner this week as Dominic Thiem won't be participating in Zadar.