Alexander Zverev has this wish two years after horror RG injury versus Rafael Nadal

Zverev recounts a horror injury that ended his 2022 French Open semifinal versus Nadal in a brutal way.

by Dzevad Mesic
Alexander Zverev has this wish two years after horror RG injury versus Rafael Nadal
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Alexander Zverev admits he still has "mixed emotions" over the ending of his 2022 French Open semifinal versus Rafael Nadal but adds that playing the Spaniard again at Roland Garros and finishing the match in a different way could help him to mentally put to rest what happened two years ago. 

After beating Carlos Alcaraz in the 2022 French Open quarterfinal, Zverev was also playing great against Nadal as there was not much separating the two in their semifinal match. Against Nadal, Zverev lost a very tight first set that the Spaniard won with a 10-8 scoreline in a tie-break but he kept going toe-to-toe with the former world No. 1 and opened a 6-5 second-set lead. 

The crowd and tennis fans all over the world were having a blast watching Nadal and Zverev but then it all ended in a moment after the German badly rolled his ankle and instantly started screaming in pain. Zverev, who exited the court in tears and wheelchair, didn't play again in 2022 after tearing several ankle ligaments and requiring surgery.

It has been exactly two years since Zverev had his most traumatic tennis experience and he hasn't played Nadal since. But since Nadal is set for likely his last French Open, 27-year-old Zverev would love to get one more shot in Paris at the record 14-time French Open champion.

"I have mixed feelings and mixed emotions obviously about that match, about playing him there just simply because it was one of the best tennis matches I've ever played in my career, but it was the worst ending I've ever had to a tennis match in my career," Zverev said.

"I would love to do it one more time just simply to kind of have a different ending to those memories, right? That's just something in my mind. I would love to play him one more time. I would love to play him in a final or semifinal, in a big match again. I think that would be great for both of us. We'll see how it will be for him."

Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal
Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

Zverev feared his career was over after the injury versus Nadal

The moment Zverev rolled his ankle, he started screaming in pain and it was pretty evident and clear to everyone that the German had just suffered a serious injury. The crowd was in absolute shock and disbelief while Nadal rushed on the other side of the court to check on Zverev. 

Zverev's ankle instantly swollen and after getting some medical help on the court, the German was placed in a wheelchair and with tears in his eyes made his way out of the court. 

Later, Zverev himself admitted that one of the first thoughts he had was that he may never play again.

"At first, of course, you think your career is over. You can no longer move your foot, you have heard the sound of breaking. A certain fear is already there at that moment," Zverev said a month after his injury. 

“It was just a bitter moment for me. The match against Rafa, I still think it could go either way. Then a final against Caspar Ruud: I think I [could have done] it. A Grand Slam win, number one in the world and so on and so forth.”

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

Zverev fully believed in the moment he could beat Nadal

After the first set lasted an hour and 33 minutes, the second set was already at an hour and 34 minutes when Zverev suffered a horror injury. And although Zverev missed four set points in the first set, his level didn't drop in the second set and he was still giving a very hard time to Nadal and making the Spaniard earn every point. 

When reflecting on the match last year, Zverev said it was the best he had ever felt on clay and was fully confident that he could beat Nadal.

“For some reason I did (believe I could win). I don’t want to sound arrogant,” Zverev said last April.

“Rafa is obviously the best player to ever play on that surface so you never know what happens. You never know what happens in that match as well. If I don’t get injured, of course (I could have lost) that match. Of course, he can go on to win his 14th Grand Slam.

“But I felt like I was playing the best tennis that I’ve ever played on that surface. So for some reason, I did feel like I could at least compete with him, which I was doing.

“The outcome of the match obviously, always depends on little factors as well. But I did feel like that could have been the week for me.”

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

It remains to be seen if Zverev will get his wish to play Nadal at this year's French Open.

Alexander Zverev Rafael Nadal French Open