There are no doubles for Alexander Zverev in Rome. The German tennis player had conquered the Roman clay court in 2017, beating Novak Djokovic in the final in just two sets; the following year, he had attempted the feat, but a too superior Rafael Nadal had blocked his path.
2022 could have been the year of his return to success in the capital, but the world number three's dream was dashed in the semi-finals, where Stefanos Tsitsipas triumphed. The Greek came from a set down (as he did against Khachanov, also in Rome) and prevailed against a confused Zverev, especially in the third set.
Thus, Zverev ends the clay court season without having won any 1000 title on clay: in Madrid he lost in the final against Alcaraz; in Monte Carlo and Rome in the semifinals, both times against the Greek. On this surface, however, there is still a great event ahead: Roland Garros.
However, in the second Grand Slam of the season, his king arrives with pain in his foot, with which he is forced to live. "Yes, I feel sorry for Rafael. Hopefully he can be fit. He has 10 days to recover and play in Paris," Zverev said about who follows him in the ATP rankings.
During the tournament, the German number one was also asked about who could be the winner of the Grand Slam on clay. Except for Rafael Nadal, several names were mentioned by Zverev. The number one in the world, Novak Djokovic, holder of the title in Paris, cannot be missing.
Alongside Djokovic, there are also Tsitsipas and Zverev himself. However, for the German, another name cannot be missing from the list of champions. "Look, I think Alcaraz is one of the favourites. Novak is one of the favourites."
Rafa Nadal is a true legend
Rafael Nadal has had a lackluster claycourt season leading up to the French Open. "I followed what Rafa experienced in Rome. And he knows himself better than anyone. It's an injury that he's been living with for years.
So, of course, there's a concern for him first because we know how important coming to Roland-Garros is to him and it's probably shaped all of that, all of his legend, in a way," Mauresmo said. "So we're following it.
I would say carefully, but there's nothing we can do. We're just obviously all crossing our fingers to get the best players in the draw," she added.