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May 9, 2016

Alexander Zverev

Rome, Italy

A. ZVEREV/G. Dimitrov

6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It sets up a match now with Roger. What are you thinking about that? You have spent quite a bit of time training and practicing with him.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, it's always something that I dreamed about, playing against Roger. You know, Misa played here against him in a quarterfinals once, so obviously it's going to be great and I'm really looking forward to it.

Q. Have you practiced with him on clay before, or is it just...
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I have. This year in Monaco, actually. First practice for me on clay. I think for him, as well.

It's going to be obviously a little bit different in the match conditions, and, you know, it's going to be a great match, hopefully.

Q. You said you dreamed about playing Roger Federer. What happens in the dream?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, I mean, he was always my idol growing up. Playing against your biggest idol, and I think he's the best tennis player that ever played the game, so going to be obviously something really big for me and something great. Hopefully we can have a great match and have a, you know, have a tough match and we'll see how it goes.

Q. Do you feel ready to beat him?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, we'll see after tomorrow (smiling).

Q. Well done. Do you know, let's say, two years ago, three years ago, everybody was thinking about Dimitrov as a possible potential No. 1 in the world, the new Federer, Baby Fed he was called. Now people say Zverev could become No. 1 in the world, big promising prospect and so on. When you hear those things and you beat Dimitrov and you see that Dimitrov is probably not fulfilling all the expectation that they were on him, what is your reaction? Are you worried? Do you feel pressure?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, people are always looking for the new world No. 1. It's always been like that. Been like that before Roger, been like that when Roger was there. They were thinking who was going to be the next.

Now Novak is obviously the best player in the world. They are already looking for somebody next. But at the moment, Novak is dominating our tour, and, you know, he's playing the best tennis somebody has seen for a long time, you know.

Talking about world No. 1 and Grand Slams and stuff like that is a little bit too early, I think, because the top guys are still there. You know, he's still there. Andy is still there. Rafa is playing great again. He just won Monte-Carlo. And Roger obviously has been playing great, as well.

So, you know, the top players are still up there. It's not that easy to get through. But, you know, obviously Grigor has been top 10 already. He's done well, as well. You know, I surely believe he will be back there again and competing for Grand Slams again.

Q. What about you? I mean, not every young player has been considered a possible potential No. 1. I read many stories this year talking about you as a potential No. 1. What is your reaction when you read that, when you hear that? Do you say, Well, bullshit? Or, No, real?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, you know, there is a lot of stories about me being potential No. 1. There is a lot of stories about Kyrgios being potential No. 1, a lot of stories about Coric, a lot of stories about Kokkinakis. What I think that shows is there is a very strong group of teenagers or young guys coming up in the tour, and, you know, I think we can all do great. And who will be on top in the future, if some one of us even will be, we will see that in the future, really.

Q. Not many players go to the net anymore. You are quite a young player. I don't want to talk about potential No. 1 or not, but do you think that going to the net could improve your tennis during the next future or, you know, during the future, your future?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think the net game is still a big part of it. I mean, you see Roger. He changed his game a little bit for coming more forward.

Q. A little bit.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, you know, being more aggressive. So I think that's still a big part. I think these players are realizing that now, and that's why players are taking so many great explayers now. I mean, Novak took Boris also to improve his volley. I believe he's done that very dramatically.

I think Andy was always playing great volleys. I think that is still there. But obviously the players are so much more aggressive from the baseline. The shots are so much faster that there is not enough time now a lot of the times to come as much, to play as much serve and volley.

At Wimbledon it used to be if you don't play serve and volley you really had no chances of winning there. You know, nowadays, the players play so much more from the baseline because, you know, they don't really have enough time to go to the net because the other shots are coming back too quickly.

I think going to the net is something different now. Going to the net is really just for finishing off points and, you know, it's a different thing than it used to be.

Q. In Germany there is a big expectation for a new star, let's say, since Boris Becker and Stich. Tommy Haas was No. 2 in the world. For many years they didn't have top players. So that puts some more pressure on you, or when you go back to Germany you feel that everybody is waiting for your results too much maybe or not?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, I mean, tennis has such a rich tennis history. That's why, you know, Germany is always expecting Grand Slam champions and always expecting No. 1s in the world because we had Steffi obviously who is the greatest female tennis player who has ever lived. Michael and Boris have done so great in Grand Slams. They have been winning. We still had great tennis players after them. I mean, we had Tommy Haas, as you said, No. 2 in the world. We had Kiefer and Schuettler, who have been No. 4 in the world.

I don't think Germany has ever struggled with tennis really. I mean, we have been in the Davis Cup World Group for I don't know how many years. I mean, that really shows that still Germany is on top level of tennis, really.

Q. Knowing Roger as you do, what do you particularly admire about him?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You know, him playing at the age of 34 the way he plays, being No. 2 in the world and, you know, really how easy it all looks.

But I know there is a lot of hard work behind that all. You know, people only see what he does in the match courts and how easy it looks and how talented he is, but with that talent comes a lot of hard work, as well.

I think he's the perfect example with not, you know, showing too much to the public or something like that. So I think the hard worker that he is and, you know, the way he plays the game is something that, you know, I always admired.

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