'Rafael Nadal and I were on the limit,' says Alexander Zverev

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'Rafael Nadal and I were on the limit,' says Alexander Zverev

After missing six months, Alexander Zverev is ready to compete again in Saudi Arabia in December. Zverev has been the NextGen leader since 2017, becoming the first youngster in years capable of battling against the rivals from the top.

Alexander had been ranked in the top-10 since the end of July of that year, achieving five years and three months in the elite company. A couple of weeks ago, Zverev became the 18th player since 1973 with 250 consecutive top-10 weeks, but his journey was soon to end.

The German dropped out from the top-10 after 253 weeks, not playing since Roland Garros and missing a chance to embrace his sixth consecutive year-end top-10 season. Alexander started the 2022 season ranked 3rd, with a realistic opportunity to become world no.

1 at some point. Zverev entered the top-2 for the first time in June, but a severe ankle injury in the Roland Garros semi-final destroyed his further progress. Alexander tore three of his lateral ligaments during the clash against Rafael Nadal.

He gave his everything against the king of clay and kept him on the court for three hours before the end of the second set! Zverev made a wrong step on the slow clay in the second set's 12th game's last point and injured his ankle, falling to the ground and screaming in pain.

He went off the court in the wheelchair before returning a few minutes later on crutches, only to announce his retirement. Alexander and his team went for further checks and decided to undergo surgery. After a couple of tough months, Zverev is back on the practice court and will play again in December.

Alexander Zverev has not played since Roland Garros.

Alexander's retirement versus Rafa was his first in a career, doing everything right for over three hours before a terrible setback. Zverev built the advantage in the opening set before Nadal broke back in game eight.

The Spaniard fended off four set points in the tie break and claimed five straight points from 6-2 down. After more drama, Rafa stole the breaker 10-8 and claimed the opener after grueling 91 minutes! Zverev broke four times in a row in the second set and opened a 5-3 lead before failing to serve out for the set.

Nadal stayed in contention and moved through after the 12th game, as his rival could not continue due to severe pain in his right ankle. Alexander called it a great clash, with both players giving their everything. "I broke seven ligaments and needed surgery.

You have to accept those setbacks and live with them. It happened during the Roland Garros semi-final, with me trying to achieve a lifetime goal. It did not occur while snowboarding or skiing; it was not a stupid accident. I realized what life without tennis is like for the first time, and I appreciate my job and career even more.

I miss traveling and competing; hopefully, I'm ready for something big and new. I was still in the ATP Race to Turin a few weeks before the event, indicating a good season. Rafa and I played on a very high level in Paris, with both at the absolute limit," Alexander Zverev said.