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January 15, 2022

Alexander Zverev

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: You obviously finished 2021 in style. How well has the preparation been going for the first Grand Slam of the season?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think I'm looking forward to it. I think a lot of players are. We're happy to be back in Australia. We're happy to be playing here. It's a new start of the season. Yeah, the year is starting off with a Grand Slam once again. You have to be playing your best tennis to give yourself a chance here.

I'm looking forward to the next two weeks.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Potential absence of Djokovic from the draw, how would that reshape the favoritism amongst the leading players?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Look, I think, yeah, Novak, every tournament that he plays, especially on this surface, especially here where he won nine times, he would be the favorite. That's just the way it is.

I think a lot of other guys have been proving to be playing well here, have proven to be playing well last year. I think you need to talk about Medvedev, Tsitsipas, who has been playing extremely well here over the last few years. I think myself, I have been playing well the last six months of last year. I have practiced with Rafa who I think is playing incredible right now again.

There are still a lot of guys that have the potential to make this tournament really interesting. I think it's going to be a fun one to watch.

Q. What, if anything, does this whole episode mean for Novak's legacy in terms of his perception around the sport and fans?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, I don't know what the perception around the fans is. I know that in the sport he's still seen one of the greatest players because his achievements are not taken away. He still won 20 Grand Slams. He still has the most weeks as world No. 1. He still has the most Masters Series.

Still for me, yeah, one of the greatest players of all time. Yeah, I mean, this is obviously not a nice thing for everyone, for him especially. But don't question his legacy because of this.

Q. I know you are good friends. Have you been in contact with him, offered him any support?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I think his phone is actually not probably on. I have not been in contact that much with him. But until last night we all thought he's going to play, so... We were all preparing for the tournament.

Q. We got the news today about the Netflix documentary similar to 'Drive to Survive'. Is that something you've been approached with to be involved with personally? What do you think about it for the sport?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I think it's great thing for the ATP to try to promote the sport. I think Formula 1 did a similar thing where they were maybe losing fans a little bit. With the 'Drive to Survive', they were gaining a lot of fans.

I find it a little bit unfortunate that the ATP and not anybody has been discussing this with us. For example, I started filming my own thing with not a very big provider, which you probably can think who it is. That would be something that I would have liked it to be discussed with us.

But in general I think it's a great thing. In general I think tennis will gain fans and will gain younger fans through a Netflix documentary like 'Drive to Survive' because 'Drive to Survive' shows the inside of the sport, the pit lane, all that.

I think the drama comes with it. Of course, Netflix is a very good provider who can build it up, who can maybe make it even more than what it actually is. I'm going to be very interested to see how it's going to be with tennis because I am inside the locker room, I am inside with the players, so I know what it is like. It's going to be interesting to see how much Netflix can show of that.

Yeah, in general I think it's great. It's very unfortunate that the communication has been lacking with us players.

Q. You haven't done any filming personally with the Netflix?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I've been doing filming for myself personally, but not with Netflix, no. I think nobody has yet because nobody knew about it.


ALEXANDER ZVEREV: They have? Who? With what?

THE MODERATOR: I will tell you later.

Q. Do you think Novak has been treated poorly?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think at the end of the day we don't have enough information. I mean, he had a visa, right? I don't think he would have traveled here just by luck without him thinking he would be able to play, with him having the right authorization to be in the country. If you would have the visa, you would think you would be playing.

I think Novak is a very big name, a global superstar. I think that he is someone that maybe people think they can make a big deal out of it just because it's Novak.

I know there's been other players, five other exemptions I think, and for example the female player that has already played in the tournament, until Novak has arrived. Then because of Novak, she got sent out of the country.

I don't know enough of the situation, but I do think if it would not be Novak Djokovic, world No. 1, with 20 Grand Slams, all that, then it would not be as big of a drama. That I do believe.

Everything else I cannot comment on because I'm not a politician. I understand the perspective from the Australian people and the government. The Australian government and the Victorian government should have been clear on what is going to happen beforehand. I think it's not very fair for a person to come here and not be able to play.

Q. You talked last year when you went to the Olympics of putting on the German colors, feeling different. You're wearing the Germany T-shirt now. Is that coincidence or some psychology of getting yourself back into the Olympics?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: There's no psychology behind it. I just feel very comfortable in this gear. I did have the biggest victory, the biggest tournament in the world that I won in this gear. It brings back incredible memories.

I just wanted to have that feeling before the tournament starts here.

Q. You spoke at the beginning about some of the different guys who are playing well. How would you compare the state of your game right now with when you won the year-end tournament? What sort of confidence did that accomplishment give you for this year?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think it's very difficult to tell. I can tell you that after the first few matches, but I need matches to be played. I need to be in the tournament situation.

Yes, we have played the ATP Cup where I played I think two very good matches, then against Canada it was kind of a match where it was very difficult mentally because we were out of the tournament already. It was like I didn't really see a point of the match.

But I need to be back in the situation where I'm playing one of the biggest tournaments in the world, where I'm competing with the best players in the world. I can tell you more bit in a few days.

I've been practicing well. I've been feeling the ball well. Hopefully I can show that on the match court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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