Alexander Zverev has just arrived in Italy to compete in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, just a handful of days after posting his fourth title at Masters 1000 level. The German has been the author of a fantastic week at the Caja Magica in Madrid, also facilitated by the particular conditions of the tournament that takes place on high ground.
Sascha knocked out five-time champion Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem along the way, only to make a comeback in the final Matteo Berrettini at the end of a no holds barred battle. The winner of the 2018 ATP Finals brought displeasure to the home crowd by beating Nadal with a double 6-4 in the quarterfinals, a prestigious statement that highlighted the current difficulties of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
The 34-year-old Majorcan admitted that he was not happy with his performance and that he was too wrong in the decisive moments. During his press conference before his debut in Rome, Zverev explained that Rafa will still be the main favorite at Roland Garros in twenty days or so.
The Iberian pursues the 14th seal in the French capital.
Alexander Zverev on Rafael Nadal
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who recently won the Barcelona Open, was offered a stunning defeat by Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters.
The Spaniard will now move to Rome, intending to clinch a record tenth title. But Nadal has a defining roadblock in the form of Jannik Sinner, as they are all set to face each other in the second round of the Italian Open tomorrow.
Both Nadal and Sinner didn’t perform well in Madrid. While Sinner lost to Alexei Popyrin in the second round, Zverev got the better of the Spaniard. "He's (Rafael Nadal) still the favorite, that hasn't changed," Alexander Zverev said.
"You have to beat him. The chance for him is relatively great. Our job is to prevent that from happening." Zverev then went on to name himself, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, among a few others, as the players who could possibly challenge Rafael Nadal in Paris.
"Novak, Domi, me and a few others, we can challenge him," Zverev remarked. Alexander Zverev also spoke about the absence of capacity crowds at tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's different. A finale with fans is different than in front of empty stands," Zverev said.
"Sports are emotions, regardless of whether they are a team or individual sport. You get it from the audience. You hear noises, there is always something going on, I miss that."