Alexander Zverev rips umpire after being robbed in key moments of French Open final

Zverev should have gotten the break back in the fourth game of the fifth set but the chair umpire overturned a clear double fault.

by Dzevad Mesic
Alexander Zverev rips umpire after being robbed in key moments of French Open final
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Alexander Zverev didn't hide that he was "frustrated" after learning that chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein indeed made a wrong call in the fifth set that cost him getting a break back in the fifth set versus Carlos Alcaraz as the German underlines it would have been a completely different situation had the decider being tied to two games apiece.

After Alcaraz got the first break of the fifth set in the third game to go 2-1 up, Zverev instantly earned three consecutive break points in the following game. On Zverev's break point, Alcaraz missed his first serve and his second serve was also called out - but umpire Lichtenstein overruled the call on the second serve and the Spaniard got another pair of serves. 

On a TV screen, the review - that was not available to officials on the court - showed that Alcaraz's second serve was indeed out and that Zverev should have won the fourth game. 

Alcaraz then went on to save a total of four break points in that game and open a 3-1 lead. Zverev never recovered as Alcaraz registered another break in the seventh game en route to sealing a 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1 6-2 win. 

After the final, Zverev shared that someone confirmed to him that Alcaraz's second serve in the fourth game on a break point was indeed out. 

"I heard at 2-1 the second serve was out. From the Hawk-Eye data, I saw that. I break back there, I have break chances and then in the next service game, the fifth set can go the other way," Zverev said after the loss.

"But it is what it is. Look, he played fantastic. He played better than me in the fourth and fifth sets."

Alexander Zverev and Renaud Lichenstein
Alexander Zverev and Renaud Lichenstein © Getty Images Sport - Tim Goode

Zverev: That's a deciding difference... It's frustrating 

After easily winning the fourth set with just one game dropped, Alcaraz also started the decider with an early break point. At that point, the entire momentum was on Alcaraz's side - but many wonder one thing, what would happen had Zverev managed to get the break back in the fourth game and make it a tied score in the fifth set. 

Addressing the controversial call, Zverev said that made "a deciding difference" and that it was undoubtedly "a frustrating moment." However, the 27-year-old German also acknowledged that umpires are humans and that mistakes can happen.

"There's a difference whether you're down 3-1 in the fifth set or you're back to two-all. That's a deciding difference," Zverev underlined. 

"It's frustrating in the end, but it is what it is. Umpires make mistakes. They're also human and that's okay. But of course in a situation like that, you wish there wouldn't be mistakes."

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Zverev and Alcaraz were full of praise for each other

Despite being robbed of a clear break in the fifth set, Zverev classily said that Alcaraz was the better player in the last two sets and that he deserved to win. Also, the German tennis star was full of praise for 21-year-old Alcaraz's physical ability.

“We’re both physically strong, but he’s a beast. He’s an animal, that’s for sure. The intensity with which he plays tennis is different from that of other players. You know, he can do so many different things, can’t he?" Zverev said of Alcaraz.

“He’s a fantastic player, and physically he’s fantastic. So, you know, I have to look at myself and look at the team that I have and see, you know, what I can do to be at the same level.”

Meanwhile, Alcaraz took a moment to applaud Zverev for what he has been able to do since suffering a serious ankle injury at 2022 Roland Garros. Also, Alcaraz told Zverev he can expect success if he continues this way.

"I want to congratulate Sascha for a great beginning of this year, a great level of tennis, a great tournament. It is unbelievable the level that you are playing and the level of work you are putting in every day. I know you give your heart every day you step on the court," Alcaraz told Zverev.

"I think that I know everything you have been through in the past years with the injury on this court, the work that you put in to today being here in the final of this tournament. It has been an unbelievable journey since then. I am pretty sure you will have the opportunities to win slams or this tournament very, very soon."

Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz
Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz © Getty Images Sport - Tim Goode

Meanwhile, Zverev probably won't rest much since he is scheduled to start his grass season next week in Halle. 

Alexander Zverev French Open