Injured: Zverev to miss French Open final

Marc Morey, the legendary stadium announcer at Roland Garros, called out for the last time: “Alexaaander Zverev,” even though Morey, a former decathlon player, sounds like “Sssssswrewww.” All the people stood up, called “Sasha, Sasha” and applauded. Usually, these tones and sounds were a good sign. Greatness is achieved by those who are celebrated in this famous square in the Court Philippe Chatrier.

Not this Friday night.

Alexander Zverev went on crutches. He limped towards the exit. He turned again, waving to the crowd with one hand as best he could. His right foot was bare. Moments earlier, Zverev had hugged his opponent. The 25-year-old German tennis player, who dreams so much of finally winning the Grand Slam, who was in the semi-finals of the French Open like last year, had to give up on this exact match. His downfall was the fall when the score was 6:7 (8), 6:5, 30:40. Of course he lost that point. At 6:7, 6:6 the match was announced over.

For Rafael Nadal, his completely unidentified opponent, it’s clear with this victory, which of course he never wanted it that way: he’s actually fighting for his 14th victory at the French Open on Sunday. Zverev was the second German to reach the final in Paris after Michael Stitch in 1996.

“I am sure that he will win not one, but several,” the Spaniard later said about Zverev in an interview on the field. “Going back to the Paris final is a dream. But it’s hard to find words at the moment.”

The moment the match ends for Zverev.

(Photo: Thomas Stevens/AFP)

Up until the moment of the accident, the world number three was from Hamburg, who could have risen to the world number one had he won the tournament, and the former top seed was a very intense, sometimes surprising match. The match was played with the roof closed, before the match started at 3pm it started raining. Court Philippe Chatrier now has an inner character, which has always had an impact on tennis. Balls don’t usually bounce that far. It was doubtful which of the players could benefit from it this time.

Nadal has looked pretty good these days, but he’s been physically battered somehow. He said many times that every match here could be his last. He’s won an astonishing 13 titles in Paris, but the clock of life is ticking for him, too. Only on Friday is Nadal a year older than that, as he is often here in Paris to celebrate his birthday to serve in his most important tournament. He is now 36.

The first set lasted an unbelievably 1:33 hours, and the first set in a Grand Slam has rarely been this intense. They knocked down and jostled, and Zverev failed to get the set strong after a great start with an early break. The mood was great, as always, when Nadal plays it was a home match for Mallorcan. But Zverev also received friendly applause, and German flags were occasionally raised.

Drama about Alexander Zverev in Paris: Performing first aid: Alexander Zverev was initially expelled from court by Philippe Chatrier in a wheelchair.

First aid procedure: Alexander Zverev was initially taken from court by Philippe Chatrier in a wheelchair.

(Photo: Anne-Christine Bogolat/AFP)

At 4:5 and Zverev’s serve, Nadal had three set balls. Then Zverev four in a row at 6:2 in the tiebreak. Then Nadal two again in 7:6 and 8:7 before turning the sixth set ball into 10:8. The audience became unruly during the pass of the ball, after the sentence the noise in the ears was really painful. At first you could still hear the rain falling on the roof, but now you can no longer hear anything, it was just too loud.

The second movement was untamed in terms of drama, the Festival of Lost Services, so to speak. There have been glorious points on both sides to marvel at, but there are also errors worthy of being included in the textbook of their finest failures. At 5:3, Zverev was about to fight to equalize the set, Nadal could have really broken. But then: Three double faults in a serve match against Nadal, whoever wins those matches should be able to do magic. But even Zverev can’t.

“If you are injured like Sasha now, then part of your life will be cut out,” says Brother Misha Zverev.

And so the duel was headed into the next tiebreak when Zverev faltered. The ball flew back and forth several times, Nadal’s Top Spin shot into the front corner of Zverev, ran, hung, twisted his ankle and flew onto the ash. He cried. rolled. He immediately grabbed his right ankle, his face sprained in pain, his eyes closed. His whole back, his shorts, and his whole fiery red from Terre Battue. Nadal walked towards him, trying to help, but Zverev couldn’t do anything but confuse. The gravity of the situation was soon recognized and a wheelchair was turned over. Tournament officials helped Zverev to sit in it. He was pushed out to applause and thunderous, cheerful choruses.

Nadal’s victory was not announced – the minutes passed. When Zverev reappeared on crutches, he was clear: this tournament is now over for him. The referee shook hands and hugged Nadal, who seemed shocked. Zverev struggled for his composure, his eyes red. He had never experienced such a moment of shock in his successful career, certainly not in such a context. “If you get injured like Sasha now, a part of your life will be taken from you,” said Misha Zverev, his older brother, as a commentator for Eurosport.

Nadal also shook. “I was with him for a little while in the little room, and seeing him cry is really a tough moment,” he said in an on-court interview with former French Open three-time winner Mats Wellander. All his sympathies were with Zverev. “He played a great tournament, rightly referring to the whole open match between the two of us, we played over three hours and the second set didn’t finish,” Nadal said. He further said, “I know how hard it is to fight for his first win in a Grand Slam.” Currently, Boris Becker, the last German to win a title in the top class in tennis, remains Boris Becker, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne in 1996, for the second time after 1991.

Nadal once again cemented his reputation as one of the greatest fighters

Nadal himself will now need to refocus as he now faces his 30th Grand Slam final on Sunday, against Norway’s Casper Ruud or Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Only Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been in more finals (31 each). What Nadal has achieved so far this season can only be described as a huge surprise, which seems bold to whoever has won 21 Grand Slam victories. However, his already chronic foot problem, Muller-Weiss syndrome, was becoming more and more of a problem for him. He was absent for a long time last year. While Nadal has occasionally gone through the system here, surprisingly enough, he managed to win in Melbourne out of nowhere after a month-long hiatus. He is also now in the second Grand Slam final of the season. He has once again impressively cemented his reputation as one of the greatest fighters in world sport.

But at a high price. “I prefer losing the final on Sunday and getting a new foot in it,” Nadal later said. “It’s good to win, but life is more important than any title. Especially after my football career.”

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