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May 25, 2018

Alexander Zverev

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Can you just talk about the confidence about your results on the clay have given you coming into Roland Garros?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: It's obviously been a fantastic clay court season for me. You know, winning so many matches in a row, as well, over a period of Munich, Madrid, and Rome, was great coming in here.

Obviously there is a lot of other great players playing here, Rafa, Novak, and everybody. They are all getting on top of their game. I think this is going to be a very interesting tournament.

Q. You played a very good final in Rome. Perhaps if the rain delay hadn't had come it might have been different. Does that give you the confidence that you could perhaps go all the way here?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, this is a long tournament with a lot of hard matches. I'm not trying to think that, you know, I'm going to play Rafa in the final. That's not how I'm thinking. I'm thinking about every single match. I'm thinking about how to beat Berankis in the first round. That's my thought process right now.

Of course I played good tennis in the clay court season so far, and I know that I'm able to do so hopefully here, as well. But, you know, I just want to go match by match and see how the tournament goes and, you know, we'll see who will play his best tennis here.

Q. If you do go all the way, it's the first German player since 1996. How do you feel about that?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Who was it in '96?

Q. Michael Stich.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: He didn't win it though.

Q. No, he didn't win it.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Didn't go all the way.

Q. Went to the finals.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: There you go. He made finals. I was thinking who it was. I thought my German tennis knowledge was better than you guys.

But, I mean, look, as I said, this is a long way ahead, and I'm not trying to think ahead. I have done that before in Grand Slams, and I lost early.

I'm going to try to avoid that. I'm going to try to prepare myself the best I can and play the best tennis I can. The rest will take care of itself.

If I lose to somebody that plays better than me on that day, and I have done everything right and I have done all my preparation right and I have played great tennis during the day and I lost, that's okay, as well, because it happens. Sometimes other players are better than you.

But I know that right now it's more about preparing yourself for the long match, preparing yourself for the best tennis that you might play here.

Q. As one of those unwanted stats, I guess, that you haven't beat a top-50 ranked player at a Grand Slam, which seems crazy considering how well you play and where you're ranked, does that play on your mind at all coming into an event like this?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, because this year at Davis Cup I have beaten great players.

For me, that's the same. Those matches are over five sets. They are exactly the same.

I have beaten Kyrgios in Australia in a Davis Cup tie. Beaten Ferrer, beaten other great players. For me, this doesn't matter. We all know I'm going to beat a top-50 player at some point in a Grand Slam. I mean, this is not something I worry about, to be honest (smiling).

So for me, as I said, I'm just going to try to prepare and try to do the best I can, and those things are not going to be on my mind. It's not going to be on anybody's mind.

Q. Obviously you have had a lot of success in Madrid and Rome. What are different about the conditions here in terms of how the court plays, the balls, everything like that?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: The balls I think a lot of players struggle with, because Dunlop balls, Dunlop balls actually are quite fast balls. I think all the players really, really like them for the courts and these ones, the Babolat ones are completely different. They are completely different to Dunlop.

I actually get used to them quite quickly. I used to like them, when I played juniors here I used to like them. The years before -- last year I lost but that's not because of the balls.

But, yeah, the conditions are different, but the conditions are different everywhere we go.

I mean, the biggest change so far was from Madrid to Rome because Madrid we played on a thousand meters altitude to Rome on sea level, and I had to change within one or two days. I have managed that quite well. I played the finals there. So it was not too bad.

So a lot of things happen. A lot of things happen during a Grand Slam. The weather changes, the conditions change, the court changes on this clay court. And so for us tennis players we have to adjust all the time so it's not something new.

Q. To follow up on that, actually, after your match with Rafa in his presser, Rafa was saying, you know, during the second set when it got cold and it was getting darker and the court played differently and you won that set, Rafa was saying that he doesn't like those type of conditions. He prefers it when it's hot and dry and windy he can use his spin more. Just wondering how much more inspiration and confidence it gives you if it does get really rainy here and maybe gives you a better advantage?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, it doesn't. Rain doesn't give me an advantage, that's for sure. Because I'm somebody who, one of the most powerful players probably on the clay court. So I need quite fast conditions, as well. I mean, Rafa likes dry courts and big bounces. That's why he probably doesn't like the wet conditions. I think when Soderling beat him here it was quite wet, and quite cold, as well. That's maybe why.

For me, also, faster conditions, faster clay courts is something better for me.

Q. We asked Rafa about the next generation of tennis, and he was complimentary of you and Denis Shapovalov, and I just wondered, how do you feel about fitting into that next generation?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: We have been talking about it for a few years now, so I feel like the best of our generation are already kind of the current generation. They shouldn't be called next generation too much. I'm No. 3 in the world right now. Shapovalov is on his way up. I think he will be top 10, for sure. Everything else he will have to decide how much he works, how much of good coaching there is, as well.

But I think other guys like Khachanov and Rublev and actually Kokkinakis, if he gets healthy, I think he's one of the best ones in our group. But for him he gets a little bit unlucky like he did in Monte-Carlo, I mean, falling over that backboard or whatever you call it and kind of having a crack in your knee is not -- it's just unlucky. Those situations happen with him quite a lot. I think once he's healthy I think he will be one of the best ones, as well.

Obviously we have a great group of guys with a lot of talent, and I think the one that will work the hardest will have the best results and the future will show that.

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