German tennis star Alexander Zverev believes he could have defeated Rafael Nadal in last year’s French Open semifinals if he had not injured his ankle.
Last year, Nadal advanced to the final when Zverev had to retire due to an ankle injury towards the end of the second set in the semifinal. The German was leading 7-6(2) 6-6 at the time.
Then, the Spaniard went on to win the tournament, his record 14th Roland Garros title, after beating Casper Ruud in the final 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
During an interview with Eurosport, Zverev was asked whether he thought he would have won the semifinal if he didn’t get injured, the German said: “For some reason I did. I don’t want to sound arrogant.”
“Rafa is obviously the best player to ever play on that surface so you never know what happens. You never know what happens in that match as well. If I don’t get injured, of course, I (could have lost) that match. Of course, he can go on to win his 14th Grand Slam (Roland Garros).
But I felt like I was playing the best tennis that I’ve ever played on that surface. So, for some reason, I did feel like I could at least compete with him, which I was doing. The outcome of the match obviously, always depends on little factors as well. But I did feel like that could have been the week for me,” he added.
As the clay court season begins with the Monte-Carlo Masters, Zverev will take on Alexander Bublik in the first round on Tuesday and Zverev believes he will need to be at his best.
“I have to be ready. I think against him especially you have to be ready to play at your best and you also have to be physically ready to run. You never know what you’re quite going to get. So, at the end of the day, I’m just looking forward to being back and playing and hopefully playing some good matches here,” he said.
The world no 16 has won just eight out of his 17 matches this season. The German’s best performance so far has been reaching the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.