It was the pictures that hurt to look at. Olympic champion Alexander Zverev’s feet never looked good after falling in the semi-finals to Rafael Nadal. He himself fears the worst.
Alexander Zverev looked really dashing. When the Olympic tennis champion addressed his fans via a video message from his Paris headquarters on Saturday night, you can tell how shocked he was.
“It seems that I have a serious injury,” Zverev said. “But the medical team and the doctors are still looking into it,” Zverev said with a blank look. “We’ll let you know when we know more.” But the 25-year-old doesn’t have high hopes of getting away with it again. Instead, he appears to be assuming a longer break.
Get away from the seat in a wheelchair
Scenes at the Philippe Chatrier Stadium had already indicated something bad on Friday. With a sore face, Zverev lay on the ground, tears in his eyes, and was pushed off the field. The dream of winning a second Grand Slam final in his career and the chance of winning his first in one of the top four tournaments exploded in the wildest of ways. With a score of 6:7 (8:10), 6:6 in his view, it ended abruptly after more than three hours of playing in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal.
After first aid in the catacombs of the Central Court, Zverev left the facility in Bois de Boulogne with his team around his father Alexander Senior and coach Sergi Bruguera. “It was a very difficult moment for me on the field,” Zverev said later in the video. “It was a great match until it happened.”
Zverev should now fly home. “Then you have to see what the final diagnosis looks like, how bad it is and how Sasha (his nickname) can recover better,” his brother Misha said as Eurosport’s TV expert.
Zverev’s friend Sofia Tomala, who was not in Paris, was shocked by her injury. “My heart shattered into a thousand pieces when I saw the accident,” Thomala wrote on Instagram on Saturday morning. “Sports can be very tough.” The competition also expressed its sympathy with the Hamburg native. “Recovery fast again,” world number one Novak Djokovic wrote on Instagram, for example.
Nadal: I hope nothing breaks
Zverev’s semi-final opponent Nadal also sensed Zverev’s interest. “I hope he is not injured so badly and nothing is broken,” said Nadal, who imagined his return to the Roland Garros final in a completely different way. Spectators celebrated the Spaniard on his 36th birthday, but he did not really want to be happy after Zverev’s mission.
The Spaniard said of Zverev: “I know how hard he fought to win the Grand Slam. I’m sure he will win not just once, but many times.” Nadal will meet Norway’s Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday, who beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic in four sets.
It is not entirely certain when Zverev will return to the tennis court. The 25-year-old’s next tournament will be the turf tournament in Halle/Westphalia in about a week. But a start in East Westphalia seems impossible. No one even wanted to think about participating in the next Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon on June 27.
I’ve been so lucky so far
It all depends on how severe the damage to the ligaments and bones in the ankle is. To date, Zverev has largely survived serious injuries in his career. Born in Hamburg, he is considered a well-trained and decent player. Nadal said Friday’s sprained ankle was just bad luck.
Mallorcan is familiar with injuries and suffers from a chronic foot injury for a long time. The problems affect him so much that he might trade another French Open title to end the pain. “I’d rather lose the final on Sunday and get a new foot in it,” Nadal said. “I would be happy to live on a new foot. Winning is great, but life is much more important than any title.”
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