Alexander Zverev managed to see what was coming to him again late Sunday evening on TV.
Proving his strength, quarter-final opponent Carlos Alcaraz underlined his ambitions to win the French Open title and also delivered the coolest shot of the tournament to date. With praise through his legs, the 19-year-old Spanish tennis prodigy stunned not only his Russian opponent, Karen Chachanov, but also spectators at Court Philippe Chatrier and in front of televisions around the world.
“He is the best tennis player in the world at the moment,” Zverev previously said of Alcaraz, who has not lost in 14 matches and is the new star on the scene. What not everyone loves about Paris, especially Zverev. It’s a thorn in the Olympic champion’s side that the Spaniard, who is six years his junior, is about to get over – if he hasn’t already.
Alcaraz and Zverev can hardly be compared
Because between the performances of Alcaraz and Zverev there are worlds of the French capital. The only parallel is that they both went past five sets in the second round and had to dodge match point. Other than that, Alcaraz shows remarkable maturity and dominance for his age, while Zverev is still somehow searching for the red sands of Stade Roland Garros.
In front of the Spanish qualifier Bernabé Zapata Mirale, he committed 64 errors that could have been avoided in the round of 16. A similar performance against Alcaraz and the quarter-finals on Tuesday should come to an end quickly. Like the Madrid final a month ago, which Alcaraz clearly won in just over an hour.
Zverev criticizes appointments
As for pure tennis, Alcaraz is the favorite in the semi-final duel. What can speak of Zverev is his anger at the alleged preferential treatment of the young Spaniard by regulators in Paris. “Alcaraz feels like he plays every game at Court Philippe Chatrier. Of course he is the new star, he is the new face of tennis and it is nice to see something new,” Zverev said. “But there should be more division over who plays and when.” During the French Open so far, Alcaraz has played three times on the facility’s largest court, while Zverev has played only once.
“It is very clear in which direction the tournament should go and who the tournament wants to continue,” Zverev said. He has a feeling that ‘the other players are being left out a little bit’. Even before his second Grand Slam of the season, it was heard from Zverev’s camp that the new Spanish star’s successes bothered him and acted as a catalyst for him. If Zverev can turn that anger into good tennis on Tuesday, he could pull off an upset against Alcaraz.
Djokovic on Nadal: “The biggest challenge”
However, the path to the long-awaited first Grand Slam title will not be free for long. Because in the other quarter-finals of the semi-tournament that Zverev played, only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal met. Duel 59 between exceptional athletes once again clearly outweighs the comparison between Zverev and Alcaraz.
Djokovic is still driven to go down in history as the player with the most Grand Slam titles. Since the Australian Open at the end of January, Nadal has been one title ahead of Djokovic in this standings with 21 victories, but it seems that he has cleared up the controversies surrounding his forced departure from Australia due to the lack of a vaccine against the Corona virus. In Paris, he shone with a seemingly unwavering dominance. However, Djokovic also knows what to expect. “It’s the biggest challenge you can face here at Roland Garros,” the world number one from Serbia said of the fencing with Nadal.
The 13-time Paris champion plays with constant foot pain. “Two and a half weeks ago I didn’t even know if I could play here,” Nadal said. “I treat every match as if it might be the last of my Paris career,” said Mallorcan, 35. (dpa)