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April 11, 2016

Alexander Zverev

Monte Carlo, Monaco

A. ZVEREV/A. Rublev

6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Sascha, in which part of you do you feel more Russian and which more German?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: What a great first question (smiling).

I mean, my parents are Russian. Everything else is German. It's as simple as that. I'm German. I'm not Russian.

Q. Did you have pressure going into this match with someone you know well, someone that is younger than you? Does it change a bit the way you approach the match?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, we know each other really well. We know each other since we were 11 years old. We've been playing for such a long time, knowing each other and playing on different kind of level of the tour.

We've been playing under-14 tournaments, we've been playing ITF tournaments, and now this is the first time we played in a professional event.

It's nice to see how we both have grown really. So I think that was just the first one of many.

Q. You had, of course, a great run in Indian Wells, you won a match in Miami, you have a win here. Are you starting to feel confident and that you can compete against the best players at the highest levels?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, I had great matches against the top players in the world. I mean, I had two great matches against Tomas this year. I had a great match against Rafa that I could have won in Indian Wells.

But, you know, I feel like I've been playing really well the last few months. So I think, you know, it's kind of a transition for me, as well.

Q. It's your first match here. You were on center court, high-profile match. You've been practicing with people like Novak and Roger. Have you got used to this level of attention that you're now getting? Are you comfortable with it?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, I think it's always nice if people see you as a good tennis player, see what you can do maybe in the future, as well. I'm happy that other players think that as well.

That those guys take me for practice is really nice. The whole week was a great preparation for this event. The first practice I had this week was with Roger, you know. The worst practice partner I had was Dominic Thiem this week, and he's No. 12 in the world (smiling).

It was a pretty okay training week for me.

Q. You're playing Ferrer next round on clay. Do you see that as a big challenge?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, I played him once before when I was barely 17. I mean, it's going to be a great match. It's a great test for me. I think he's one of the toughest competitors on clay.

I think, you know, he's been playing great on clay his whole career. He's been a solid top-10 player for 10 years now.

It's going to be a great match. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. In which part of your game do you think you've improved the most in the last 12 months?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think the physical part of the game, I think I improved a lot with Jez. We had two great off-seasons. We had two very long off-seasons actually. We had two months each time.

I think that was very helpful, for this year as well. I think it's paying off now, and in the future hopefully as well.

I think that was the biggest part.

Q. How do you find the transition to clay? How hard is it to move from hard court to clay, being particularly tall as well? Do you find it quite difficult to adjust?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, yes and no. I mean, I've been growing up on this surface. I think for Europeans and South American players, it's easier than for others maybe because we've been playing on this surface for all our lives. I think the toughest part is the movement. You have to move a bit differently. You have to maybe slide into balls a little bit more.

But the first week on clay, having a great match like that, always helps for your confidence. Hopefully I can play as well as I did today.

Q. Which is your best surface? It could be clay?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I don't know, to be honest. I mean, yeah, on clay I've been playing great. On hard I've been playing really good the last few months, and also the past years.

Actually on grass, the first time I played on grass was last year. I didn't do too bad there either.

Depends on me, not on the surface, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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