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May 31, 2022

Alexander Zverev

Paris, France

Press Conference

A. ZVEREV/C. Alcaraz

6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Well done. How pleased were you with your performance today?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Very. I won (smiling). I'm in the semis.

Yeah, I mean, look, I think Carlos is, as I said, one of the best players in the world right now. It seems quite impossible to beat him. But I knew that I had to play my absolute best from the first point on.

I think, you know, letting him go ahead in the match, letting him get the confidence was going to be a very difficult thing for me to come back from.

In the end I'm happy that I won in four sets and didn't have to go to a fifth set.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I'd like to talk about your attitude today and body language on the court. I think you did an amazing job, you stayed positive from the very beginning to the very end. Whether you were dominating the game in the first set and a half, or at the end of the game where it was much more complicated. Was it something very important for you today that you specially prepared? And did you want to send a message today?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think it was extremely important, because I knew that it was going to be a very long and very physical match, and I couldn't show too many emotions because that also makes you tired. That also drains the energy of you.

So I had to stay calm. I had to stay calm throughout the whole match, even though I feel like I left chances in the third set behind, so I had to stay calm when I lost the third set.

Had to stay calm when I didn't serve out the fourth set at 5-4. I think that was quite important how I came back in the game of 6-5. Then obviously in the tiebreak it was a back-and-forth, with quite good tennis.

It wasn't like we were just missing shots. I think it was extremely high level. Yeah, when I got my chance in the tiebreak, I'm happy that I used it. Obviously not from the first try, but in the end I got there and, I had to win the match myself, which I'm happy about that I did.

And a message, I mean, as I said in the previous question, he's one of the best players in the world right now, and beating him at Roland Garros, Grand Slam, is very important for me.

But next I have the World No. 1 or a 13-time champion here. So it's not really getting easier from here.

Q. Can I ask you to sort of summarize the potential opponents you might play in the semifinals? You haven't beaten Novak or Rafa at an open or a major but you did obviously win in the Olympics. How much confidence do you think you can take from that performance at Tokyo?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I mean, there is a reason why they are the best in the world at Grand Slams. One has 21; the other one has 20. They are top of the game for the past 15, 20 years, and there is a big reason for that.

At the end, yes, I have not beaten them in majors, but I feel like I was very close. I feel like I have had very difficult and tough matches against them.

But there is a big difference between having a tough match and beating them. Still a major difference.

So hopefully I can manage and take this win today and put it on the court on Friday.

Q. And the Olympics?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yeah, I think, look, I think the Olympics, for me personally, is the biggest event in the world. Yes, we all want to win majors, we all want to win Grand Slams, but there was obviously also the way I beat Novak I think coming back from 6-1, 3-2 with a break down was quite special. And, yeah, I will definitely take something from that. But, again, Grand Slams are different.

Today I think let's just enjoy their match because I think it's going to be special.

Q. A friend in Yorkshire reminded me that it's four years ago today that we met for the first time at a press conference at Roland Garros. Even though you didn't understand me at the time...

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Your English got a lot better (smiling).

Q. Not as good as yours but not too bad. But I asked you if that Roland Garros could be a turning point in your career. Four years on, how aware are you that time is marching on? What's it like when you're still chasing your dreams, you've got a couple of guys ahead of you with lots of Grand Slams, and lots of younger guys who are chasing you at the same time?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: At the end of the day, I said a lot of times, I'm not 20 or 21 years old anymore; I'm 25. I am at the stage where I want to win, I'm at the stage where I'm supposed to win, as well.

We still have the best players in the world playing with Novak, Rafa, and Roger is coming back. I'm not sure at the age of 41 if he is going to win Grand Slams again but obviously you have to mention him. Then you have the new generation. But I think our generation is very strong as well. We have Tsitsipas, Medvedev who is a US Open champion. I mean, me, I won big events like the Olympics, as well.

I think tennis is at quite a high level right now, men's tennis, and I think that you have the mix of the best in the world like Rafa and Novak and Roger, if he comes back, but you have to name the mix of the newer generation as well who are a threat to them, I think.

Q. What did that backhand feel like on the match point? Did you just close your eyes and just go for it? When that ball was struck, what did that feel like?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, it is one shot that I like to do. I have done it a lot in my career. But, yeah, I had to win the match myself. I feel like, yeah, okay, you're either gonna miss it by a country mile or gonna hit a winner. So I hit a winner, which I'm quite pleased about.

Q. I wanted to ask you on the best-of-five-sets format, what makes it such a beast? Not so long ago you lost a three-set match to Carlos and you were able to turn that around in a best-of-five sets. Can you just talk about what makes that such a hurdle or the ultimate hurdle in our sport?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think it's the most physical test that we have in tennis and also one of the biggest physical tests that you have in any sport. You don't know how long you're going to play for. You don't know what you are preparing for. You don't know what the preparation beforehand is, what meals you are eating, what you are doing on the court, because you might be playing for an hour and a half or might be playing for six hours. It's something that maybe no other sport has.

And also, you are obviously running a lot, jumping a lot, you also have to concentrate on still your technique of hitting a tennis shot. You have to be mentally tough, which I think is one of the most difficult physical things, as well, the mental toughness.

So I think it's one of the most ultimate tests in sports. That's why I think tennis is also seen as one of the most difficult sports in the world.

Q. It's also the first time you managed to beat a top-10 in a Grand Slam event. Was it some kind of ceiling you could not broken before so does it mean something special to achieve this today?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: To be honest, I don't think about that in that way. I've had a lot of great matches, but yes, I have lost a lot of them.

I mean, I'm happy that I have done it, but it's not my biggest concern, I would say.

Q. It is hard to see so many successful dropshots in a match of this level.


Q. Has this something to do with a mistake from your side or has Alcaraz come up with a new technique to make this shot?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, I'm just very, very slow (smiling). No, I'm kidding.

Dropshots, you usually can see them. You can see them coming by the technique and change of grips. I feel like he uses the exact same grip on his forehand topspin and on the dropshot. It doesn't change. His shot doesn't change.

So it's very difficult to see, and it's very difficult to see what he's gonna do. So I think that's why it's so successful. It's not only successful against me. It's successful against I think a lot of players.

That's why, yeah, he's one of the best for a reason, you know. The reason for that, I think he has extreme power, but he has extreme good hands. He's showing that on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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