Alexander Zverev will have to defend 1,500 points in Washington and Toronto back to back weeks. The German player feels ready for what it's a big but motivating challenge. If at the Citi Open no 'Big 3' - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are there - in Canada the Spaniard and the Serb will come back, ready to triumph again.
But Zverev is confident and stronger. 'I think I’m a better player than I was last year', the 21-year-old assured speaking to media on Monday. 'I think I’m better prepared, I think I’m better physically.
Also, I think tennis-wise, there are things that I’ve improved. I think you can always improve. There are always areas where you can improve until the end of your career. But the competition doesn’t sleep, either. They’re all trying to find ways.
They’re trying to improve as well. It’s been an exciting year so far, and hopefully, it will be in the second half of the year as well.' He also looks forward to play his first match since Wimbledon: 'Washington is perfect preparation for Toronto and Cincinnati.
I've done a good two weeks of training, just general stuff. It was like a mini off-season for me, just a lot of work trying to get ready for the hardcourts.' Zverev feels okay with the shot clock introduction during the US Open Series starting from this week's Citi Open in Washington.
'They have explained it to us', the world No. 3 said. 'It's a change. I think it's a good thing they are trying it out before the US Open. I'm one of the fastest players out there, so I don't think it will change much for me.
It will be important to listen to players' reactions, to hear their opinions. It's going to be important for the ATP as well. I'm not someone who tries to break my opponent out of his rhythm. I'm trying to play tennis better than my opponent.
I'm not trying to break an opponent's rhythm. I'm not that kind of player.' ALSO READ: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal: the players who earned the most