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November 16, 2018

Alexander Zverev

London, England, United Kingdom

A. ZVEREV/J. Isner

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I was listening to an interview you gave at the French Open where you were talking about the conversation you had with Roger at the Australian Open. Now that you lead the tour in match wins with 56, has that chat had an effect on your season at all? Has it been the reason you've performed so well?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, that chat was more for then in that time. I was very upset about my third-round loss. Obviously played against Chung, who had an amazing week there. He played ridiculous, how he was moving, how he was playing.

I had a tough match, another tough loss at a Grand Slam. He was more talking about that, that I shouldn't get too upset. He made his first quarterfinal much later in his career, as well.

That was more about that. It wasn't really about how I should play or what I should do on the court.

Q. You've had a number of achievements already in your career. Where does this rank for you in things you've achieved so far, to get to the semifinal?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: It's obviously great getting to the semifinals. But the tournament isn't over. I am in the semifinals. There's only good opponents left. There's only the best in the world. I'm playing Roger tomorrow, which is going to be a very difficult but hopefully very nice match. We'll see how far I can go.

As I said, I think this question is more for after the tournament is done. I don't want to really be thinking about I'm in the semifinals now, I'm satisfied. That's not how I work.

Q. There was the Next Gen finals last week. For young players like yourself coming through, what are the challenges as you establish yourself against the old order?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, the game has changed so much. The game is much more physical obviously. We have so many great players that are a little bit older now, that it's not easy to come through for the young generation. We really have to be better than the other guys to come through and to be ranked higher.

Obviously we have a very good group of guys coming through, 21, 22, 23-year-olds, even younger. I think the Shapovalov and De Minaur group is also very good. We'll see what the future holds for all of us.

Q. You've spoken about the length of the ATP season this week, called it ridiculous the other day. I don't know if you saw Roger's comments on it yesterday.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: What did he say?

Q. Players need to be more disciplined with their schedule rather than complaining they have to turn up every week. Tim Henman also said players' arguments are weakened when they turn up to exhibition events where they're paid a huge amount of money. It diminishes your argument that you play like the Laver Cup, turned up to smaller tournaments that give you a bigger appearance fee.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I haven't played any exhibitions this year. If you call the Laver Cup an exhibition, I have played one. Apart from that, I haven't played an exhibition this year.

Roger is older, so he has different rules from the ATP. He can skip two Masters Series. He doesn't have to play all the 500 events. I have to play all the four Grand Slams, all the nine Masters events, and I have to play four 500 events outside of that. Actually I even played a 250 event as well.

I also talked, it's not about the amount of tennis we play inside of that year, it's how long we have off. Even if you're not playing for a week in a tournament, you can't take that week off. You have to be training, you have to be preparing.

My argument is always we don't have time to prepare. I mean, we finish here, we go for a 10-day holiday, then we train for two weeks, then we go to Australia. That's more my thinking behind it. It's not the amount of matches that we play inside of those weeks, it's more about how much off time we can actually have.

Because we can't have off time during the season. We can't say, Okay, I'm going to take two weeks' holidays, going to the Maldives in July. That's not how it works. You have to be trained, you have to be prepared. Also, the physical part, you can't be doing heavy training during the season. The off-season is the only time you have time to prepare yourself.

If you ask Novak, I had this conversation with Novak, he agrees with me. He's been thinking the same way for the past 10 years but he's never really talked about it. Now that players are coming through about the subject, he's also more vocal about it.

As I said, we don't have time to prepare, so the body, mental-wise, also we don't have time to give ourselves rest. That you can only really do during an off-season, not when there's other tournaments going on which you're not playing at.

Q. It's been a year since you played Roger. Obviously you've grown as a player in the last 12 months. I think it was 6-1 in the third set last year. How will you approach the match against Federer in the semis here tomorrow? What are your thoughts?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Obviously it's going to be a very difficult match. I mean, him on this surface, indoor court, he's an unbelievable player. Played him a few times in all different conditions, all different surfaces.

As I said, I'll prepare myself for a very tough match. I hope it will be a good match, as well.

Q. You're playing in the group Guga Kuerten. He's arriving today because he's going to be honored in the tournament. I think you were young when he was No. 1. How much of him could you see, of him playing, as a player?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I saw quite a bit still. His career obviously was longer than just when he was world No. 1. I still remember him. Obviously an unbelievable clay court player. But on other surfaces, as well, he played well. A funny guy, as well. Very entertaining for the crowd.

I wish him everything, all the best for the award. Obviously I hope he's going to stick around to watch some tennis, as well.

Q. We saw you hitting 140 miles plus serves consistently. Today you topped a little bit, a couple of miles more than John, made more aces. Is there some kind of specific physical or technical work on your serve going on?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No. No physical, no technical at all. Today's tactic actually was to slow down the serve and place it more (smiling). I think I've done a good job with it, placing it, 143 out wide on set point down. I think that was very good for me (smiling). I hope I can do it more often.

Q. On the length of the season, when do you think the tour should end? When would be a good time for it to end to start that off-season?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, I've done it a few times where I ended my season in Stockholm, to give myself two months when I was younger, to build my body. I had four weeks of physical and four weeks of tennis before the season started.

I think if we get that, that is very, very good for us. Like this now, we get two weeks for everything. Obviously we take some holidays, but we need them. We need the holidays to kind of recover. Having two weeks to prepare yourself, body and mentally for the new season, is not in my opinion enough. If you ask any coach out there, I don't think they'll disagree with me.

Q. Your final question and answer in your previous press conference, you were asked about Ivan Lendl, whether he was strict with his rules. You said, If you're going to be strict with me, the rules and stuff, the relationship is not going to last very long. He understood that very quickly, I think.
Were you joking?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No (laughter). I mean, I don't need to be kind of put in a corner. I know what I want. I'm more time related, to be honest. I come late to things sometimes. To non-important things, not to training, not to kind of physical training or anything like that. I come late to dinner or I come five minutes late to the car when it leaves. That's more it. I'm not talking about other stuff.

On the court, I never say good things about myself, to be honest. I feel like other people should. But I am very, very disciplined. I work hard. I like it because I know what I want, and I want to be the best. With any other attitude, you will not be. So I know that for myself.

Q. Ivan was quite a character, tough reputation. What has surprised you the most since you got to know him a little bit better, and technical aspects of the game being your forehand, the shot with the most margin for improvement?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Surprised me that he's actually a very, very nice guy. I didn't know it. He's an unbelievable guy actually. He's very warmhearted. The people he's close to, he really loves, and does everything for them, which I admire a lot. I try to be the same way.

All of you guys keep thinking that my forehand is absolute crap, to be honest. I don't know why. I think my forehand is a very good shot actually, so... Of course, it needs improvement. But every other shot in the book kind of needs improvement, as well. It's not just that one shot that we're working on.

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