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May 21, 2017

Alexander Zverev

Rome, Italy

A. ZVEREV/N. Djokovic

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First of all, well done.

Q. Second, the other day you said they won already Slams, that's why they are more popular in Germany, talking of Becker and Stich. But you know Becker never won a clay tournament. Did you know that? What is the reaction to that? Are you surprised the way you handled this match today since the beginning practically? You gave him only nine points on your serve.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, Becker was an unbelievable player on any surface. I think he reached a few finals, reached the final in Monte-Carlo. It's tough to win a big tournament on clay.

But, yeah, I'm very happy the way I played. Very happy with my performance all week, actually. And especially today, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played maybe.

You know, I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point on and to the last. It was very important for me to be able to stay this aggressive and don't let him take over the game.

Q. You choose at the beginning to return the serve. That is a strategy you use always?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: The return the serve?

Q. Yes. You decided to return. He served and you broke him immediately.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Oh, no, depends on the kind of player I'm playing. Against someone like Novak, it's always very tough to get into rallies. Maybe I thought maybe if he's a bit cold, he'll give me one or two unforced errors in the beginning which can help me to break him.

So all tournament I served quite well, so I was quite comfortable on my serve. It was more a question if I could break him. I wanted to get a shot from the beginning, so it worked out well.

Q. Congratulations. You won the men's and Svitolina won the women's. Is it an important sign for the NextGen? What do you think about this?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: What does Svitolina have to do with the NextGen?

Q. You're 20. She's...
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, it's nice to know that I can compete and play and win the biggest tournaments on tour against the biggest players on tour.

It's obviously nice to see, as you guys said before, the youngest player before to win a Masters Series was Cilic last year. Now I am the youngest player currently. So it's nice to, I think for the tour, as well, to have a few younger guys, few younger girls, as well, to be able to play at the top of that level.

As I said many times, unfortunately for tennis and unfortunately for the spectators, the top four cannot play forever. So it's good that younger players are starting to get through.

Q. There was a nice moment between you two at the net at the end of the match. Can you elaborate maybe on the relationship you have with him and what that means to beat him on such a big court?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, he knows me since I'm four years old, so, you know, my brother and him are the same age. They have been playing juniors together before.

I always practiced with him. He always took me for warmups when I was still a junior and stuff like this on big tournaments and Grand Slams.

So our relationship is very, very good. You know, he obviously wished me all the best. The guy that he is, he's one of the best guys on tour. Wished me all the best for the future and for Paris, as well. I wished him also all the best of luck for Paris.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your emotions, winning your first Masters title and breaking through the top 10 Monday.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, you know, during the tournament, I tried not to think about it too much.

But obviously now that it's all over, I'm very happy, very, very happy to win this title, which is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, especially on clay, which is always very, very tough mentally and physically.

I'm happy to go into Paris with a win.

Q. What can you say now about your chance to win Paris?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: To win? I mean, before this week, I would have given me also close to zero chances of winning here.

So as I showed this week, I can play and beat the best players at the biggest tournaments. Hopefully I can continue my form like I did here into Paris, and we'll see what it holds for me there.

Q. (Question about young Italian players and does Alexander have a secret, a key of winning, something to suggest for everybody?)
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, I think that there is a lot of young guys who have success very early in their careers now. You know, we have how many, eight, seven top 100 guys under the age of 21 right now?

It's a pretty big amount. It's not like I'm the only one who has success.

Obviously there will always be good juniors, world No. 1s and stuff like this who never quite make it in the pros who will have a more difficult time in the pros than they had in juniors because they may be expecting themselves to win from the beginning on, and it doesn't always work like that. Keep on having to do the work, keep on having to improve.

So as I said, even though I won this title now, I will be back on the practice courts very soon trying to improve my game, trying to get better, trying to accomplish even more.

Q. Looks like you know a lot of things about tennis by your father, your brother? You grow up with tennis. What do you know about Boris Becker? Did you ever see something about him? Because you remind me very much about him.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, I know pretty much everything about him. He's one of German's biggest legends in this sport. It's tough not to know anything about him.

Q. Congratulations. We know that you have a long and good picture of building of your physical strength. Do you think this big title comes when right time when you expected or it comes other than you thought?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: As you asked yesterday already, you can't expect these kind of things. You can't say, Okay, this is going to be the week I'm gonna win or something like this.

You have to play every match with complete seriousness. You have to compete to the highest level every single time you step on court, and then the results will come itself.

Beginning of the week, I only saw my first-round opponent, which was Kevin Anderson. Then I saw Viktor Troicki and then Fabio Fognini. I never looked in the future, Okay, who am I going to play semifinals or in the finals or something like this?

You have to play match by match. Can't really think like that.

Q. Even if nobody can predict his future, when were you dreaming about becoming top-10 player? Did you expect that could happen so early, so soon? Or you would have been satisfied even if it would have happened when you were 25 years old instead of 20?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You know, when I was about 11, 12, I thought by the age of 20 I'd probably win about four Slams already (smiling). Then when I was 16, everything started to be more realistic. I could not imagine top 10 by the age of 20. You know, it's also my early 20s. I just became 20.

It's something truly amazing. I think staying in top 10 will be very difficult, as well, because other guys like David Goffin and other players will want to break into the top 10.

So getting there is one thing. Staying there is going to be very, very difficult.

Q. We are struggling to find one favorite for French Open. Do you think that the field is more open?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, the favorite is still definitely Rafael Nadal. Strong favorite. And the other, the rest, is going to be quite open. I think Novak is playing quite great again. Dominic has been showing he's been playing very, very well. I just won here. So I've got to put me on that list even though, you know, I don't want to sound like I want to say that I'm the favorite myself or something like this.

But, you know, those kind of guys who have been playing the best over the last few weeks are definitely the favorites.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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