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May 20, 2018

Alexander Zverev

Rome, Italy

R. NADAL/A. Zverev

6-1, 1-6, 6-3


Q. The rain is not your friend.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Not today, it wasn't.

But, it happens. You know, there's nothing I can do about it. Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis. He came out way faster and played much more aggressive than I did.

And, you know, the fatigue I had over the last -- because of over the last few weeks, because of the break, you know, it took me very long time to get activated again and to get going.

Obviously, it wasn't enough time.

Q. Why do you think you were able to change things around in the second set and get pretty clear control of this match for the middle part of it?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Had a lot of winners, to start with. But I kind of found the way, kind of, you know, felt like I had control over most of the points. That is very important against him on clay.

But, you know, it's not -- most of the people, most of the time, you won't be able to do that. I felt like I found a way in the second and middle of the third set.

And then, you know, the rain delay didn't help me, definitely.

Q. Any problem because you finished late yesterday, your match, difference from Rafa?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: It would have helped me physically to get a little bit more time. But, you know, my average going to bed here was about 3:30 a.m. So, yesterday was early for me.

Q. You've put together an incredible string of tournaments, 14 straight matches. The question I guess now, how to translate this to the French Open, to majors? I know you've talked about this before, but how do you translate this all to success or to that format or how are you preparing to do it?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I try to play the same way, play the same way over a longer period of time, which will be in Paris. And we'll see.

I mean, right now, the next few days, I will not even think about tennis.

And then I'll go to Paris and do my best to prepare and, you know, try to compete for the French Open.

Of course, Rafa will be the favorite there, there's no question about it. I'll be in the other half of the draw. So, that's a good thing (smiling).

But for me it will be match by match there. And hopefully I'll be able to play the same kind of tennis like I did in the last three weeks.

Q. The rain didn't help you, from a technical or from a mental perspective? Thank you.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: It just changed momentum. I was -- you know, the momentum was on my side.

And Rafa is somebody that if you're not in the match and if you're not feeling the ball well, you have no chance.

And that's what I felt like. I was playing great in the second and third set, in the beginning. And, you know, the break kind of put the momentum away. And, you know, if you don't have the momentum on your side, you're not gonna beat Rafa.

Q. On the Slams, do you feel like you've learned, as you've played more and more of these, how to handle that occasion as you've gone against more experienced players?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, we're still in Rome. I just lost the final. We'll talk about Paris on Saturday. I have a media day there. I think you'll be there, as well.

Q. Last night, you gave your racquet to Francisco Totti's son.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Two nights ago.

Q. Is your friend, you are a --
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I never met him in my life before. But, of course, I know who Totti is. He's an Italian legend.

And I love Rome. I love playing here.

I think he doesn't mind it, either. So, you know, it was an honor for him to watch the match. So, you know, I thought maybe I'd give him a present.

And actually, he gave me a great present yesterday, as well. He gave me a signed shirt of his, one of the last ones he ever wore. And his captain's -- whatever you -- How do you call it, bandanna, whatever. So that was great, as well.

Q. Reflecting on all those wins, what are you most pleased about; whether it's in your game or mentally or anything you've done in the past few weeks?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think this week is the most, actually, satisfying. Because even when I was tired, I still found a way against great players.

And this is not easy to do. This is one of the biggest tournaments that we have in the world. So, you know, finding a way to get to the finals after, you know, two tournaments that I won is something amazing for me, I think.

And, you know, I was not far away from beating Rafa on a clay court in a Masters final. So I guess I can take that into Paris.

Q. Given how well you played the second and the start of the third set, do you feel your game matches up well with Rafa? In general, it tends to be tall players and players with great backhands who do well against him.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Great backhands help. But right now, I'm 0-5 in the head to head. I mean, so ...

I don't know. We'll see next time I play him. But right now, he's in control of me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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