“I Understand Dominic Thiem”: Alexander Zverev Admits Struggling To Find Motivation

Published 04/29/2021, 6:25 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France – November 7, 2020 Germany’s Alexander Zverev reacts during his semi final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


Since the resumption of the tour in August last year, the bio-secure bubble and several restrictions during tournaments have become a player’s constant companion. Recently, Alexander Zverev mentioned feeling overwhelmed because of the harsh regulations faced over the last nine months.

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During an interview, Zverev lamented over having no contact with the outside world and revealed being emotionally wrecked during the 2021 Rotterdam Open.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021 Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his group stage match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Alexander Zverev empathises with Thiem

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Owing to the strict protocols enforced by the tournaments because of the pandemic, Zverev admitted it has taken a toll on his motivation. The German further claimed he understands the mental fatigue experienced by his arch-rival Dominic Thiem and has himself been struggling with it.

“We have been in a bubble for nine months. In Rotterdam, I was freaking out. We only stay at the hotel and on court. There is no fresh air to breath. We have no contact with the outside world. I understand Dominic Thiem. I have been struggling with motivation too.” said Zverev.

Despite the challenges, Zverev won the Mexican Open last month by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. However, he suffered two back-to-back early-round exits from the 2021 Miami Open and Monte Carlo Masters.

DOHA, QATAR – MARCH 11: Dominic Thiem of Austria reacts during his quarter final match with Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on March 11, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images)

On the other side, Thiem has played no event since his opening-round loss at the 2021 Dubai Open. Since then, the reigning US Open champion has withdrawn from a slew of tournaments due to pandemic-related emptiness.

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However, Thiem is now slated to compete at the upcoming Madrid Open which begins on May 2nd. The clay courts of Madrid will act as a preparatory ground for Thiem leading up to the French Open, a tournament where the Austrian has finished as the runner-up twice.

Since finishing as the finalist of the ATP Nitto Finals last year, Thiem’s performances have been subpar and the 27-year-old seems exhausted coping up with the strict protocols.

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As Thiem makes a return, he will aim to get back on winning ways and find his form to challenge Rafael Nadal’s hegemony on clay.

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Kshitij Tayal

358 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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