World No. 7 Alexander Zverev said a political reason caused his match against French Adrian Mannarino to be delayed for three hours. On Friday, No. 5 seed Zverev recovered from a set down to beat 32nd-seeded Mannarino 6-7 (4) 6-4 6-2 6-2 to reach the US Open round-of-16.
Mannarino was in contact in Benoit Paire, who tested positive in the bubble a week ago, and the state department of health wanted Mannarino to be in quarantine. Zverev revealed he was told the chances of him playing Mannarino were "slim" but luckily the Frenchman was allowed to play.
"I mean, it was not in our hands. It was not the tournament's decision or the player's decision to play or not play. It was more politics, bigger people than us," Zverev said. "We were just waiting. They told us 5:00 was the last time we are going to go on court if we're going to go on court.
The chances of us going on court were very slim. Yeah, I thought we might not play today anyways. "But, yeah, I'm relaxed. What I do on the court doesn't depend on what I do before the match that much. I'm relaxed.
I watched the other match. What else am I supposed to do? I was in my suite. "Yeah, I didn't know the camera was on me that much as well. I only realized afterwards that I was shirtless on TV. "I don't know that.
At the end of the day I always looked at the situation that what if I was in the same situation. I would have wanted my opponent or my fellow players to have an understanding for it."
Zverev fully understood the situation
The German refused to put any pressure on Mannarino and the organizers as he patiently waited to see what will happen.
"It was not his fault. It was not the US Open's fault. It was just the situation. There were politics involved," Zverev added. "At the end of the day I think maybe I could have said, I want to play at the time if we're playing, and if he's not on court, bad luck.
In my opinion, that was the right thing to do, to wait. This is why I also waited. Give the opportunity to give him the chance. If I was in that same situation, I would think that I would have wanted not to play the match. "Yeah, unfortunately this was how it was. Luckily we did play the match. I think for him and for me it was better."