May 20, 2022
THE MODERATOR: Sascha, you have played a lot of clay court tournaments this year. Pretty consistent, but without winning a title. How do you sum up your clay court season so far?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: You just asked me this question in front of the door, but I will answer it again (smiling).
No, it's been a consistent clay court season, I think. Obviously making at least a semifinals of every Masters that I have played, made the finals of Madrid.
I thought I picked up my level of game with each tournament on the clay court season, so I hope I can play my real best tennis here. Obviously a little bit disappointed I didn't win a title on the clay this year. But we are obviously here at the most important week of the season on clay courts, and if I win the title here, then I'm more than happy about my clay court season.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. You said a couple weeks ago you thought Carlos was the best player in the player in the world, right now being the best player in the world. Curious, you come to Roland Garros, Rafa has won 13 times. Do you see Carlos as the favorite now or is Rafa always the favorite when you come here? Where do you put yourself in the mix?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Well, I will answer each question at a time. I think there has been a period where those guys that were the best three-set players in the world. I think I was as well maybe back in 2018, maybe also last year, as well, but it's very different at a slam. And I think it takes a lot more than just playing good tennis to win a Grand Slam.
I think Rafa at this place here -- just watched him practice. And it's funny because me, my dad and Sergi Bruguera watched him practice, and all of a sudden his forehand is just 20 miles an hour faster. He moves lighter on his feet. There is something about this court that makes him play 30% better, just being on this court.
I think Novak right now, as well, he's finding his form again. He's been playing better and better each week that he's been playing on the clay courts. He's been playing fantastic in Rome. Those two guys are still the No. 1 and 2 favorites for me, in my opinion.
I think the top half of the draw is pretty stacked, I would say, with obviously Carlos and myself in there, as well, with the top two guys.
So I do think that probably the Roland Garros champion will be in the top half.
Q. With the top half being so stacked, would it be easier for any of the bottom half players to go to the final and, you know, keep fresh during the tournament? I'm thinking of Tsitsipas, Ruud, and the other players.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think the way Stefanos has been playing this clay court season he has a very good chance of making it to the finals. I think there is no question about it. He's probably been the best player on clay from that bottom half that we have.
I think Andrey has a very good chance going deep this tournament, as well. Daniil is No. 2 in the world. I think he needs some time to go back from his injury and to adjust to the clay courts, as well. Ruud has been playing very well on clay.
For me, yeah, from the bottom half, Stefanos is the favorite, and I think any other player would say the same thing, just simply by the results as well.
Q. Just to pick up on where you left, what you mentioned before about the three sets versus the five sets, what is it that you think is so different? Obviously it's longer, but in terms of besides fitness, what is it, is it psychological...
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: The dream of winning a Grand Slam. That's what the biggest difference is, I think (smiling). Because each of us, we start playing tennis because we want to win the biggest titles in the world, and the biggest titles in the world for us are the Grand Slams, the Olympic Games, and maybe the World Tour Finals, you know. Obviously winning a Grand Slam is the ultimate goal, I think with the Olympics, as well. But it's very different.
So I think that in particular -- because we are all fit. You know, we are not struggling physique-wise. I'm not saying I have lost matches because of my physical ability. No, I think I have lost matches because I have put a lot of pressure on myself winning a Grand Slam. That is more the reason why I maybe haven't won one yet.
I think those guys, you know, the Novak, Rafa, Roger, they just want so much, that for them it comes natural. I think it will be interesting for the new up-and-coming guys, like Alcaraz, and I was in the same position like him a few years ago, and I think Tsitsipas was, as well. Medvedev kind of started playing better at a later age, so for him maybe it was easier because he was more mature.
But it will be interesting to see how he deals with it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports