“Was Much Happier in 2018”: Alexander Zverev Compares His Maiden QF Qualification to the Present One at French Open

Published 06/08/2021, 12:18 PM EDT

German tennis star Alexander Zverev has picked his maiden quarter-final appearance at the 2019 Roland-Garros over his reaching the last eight this year as his happier memory.


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The current World No.6 whipped veteran Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori in straight sets to storm into the quarter-finals on Monday.

Alexander Zverev had lost to Dominic Thiem in the 2018 QF


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Speaking to reporters ahead of his last-four tie against high-flying Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Tuesday, Zverev said while he is happy to have reached another quarter-final at the French Open, it still doesn’t compare to how he felt after getting there for the first time.

“In 2018, it was the first time I qualified for the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. It was a different experience. I am delighted to qualify for the quarter-finals (this year), but I think I am. I was much happier in 2018,” the German said.

Zverev had booked a semi-final date with current World No.4 and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem after surviving a grueling five-setter against Karen Khachanov of Russia in the last eight.

It was one of three five-setters on his way to the quarters in 2018, with the other two being against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur and Serb Dusan Lajovic.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) Dominic Thiem of Austria shakes hands with Alexander Zverev of Germany after winning their Men’s Singles final match on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Zverev reveals he was injured ahead of the Thiem clash

Recalling the tough matches, Zverev said he walked into the Thiem clash exhausted and “injured”Feeling the effects of three back-to-back five-setters, the German couldn’t put up a fight against the Austrian and went down in straight sets.

“I was injured after these long matches that I had played at the time in the quarter-final match with Thiem,” Zverev recalled.

He added that while he is happy to have made the last eight again at Roland-Garros, he still hasn’t reached his goal, which is to lift his maiden Grand Slam trophy.

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The German said he has already moved on from his quarter-final win and has shifted focus to the clash against Fokina.

“I qualified for the quarter-finals, but I don’t want to stop there, of course. I’m already thinking about the next game,” he added.


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Zverev ran into Thiem again in the US Open last year and what followed was a feisty contest which went the full distance and was eventually decided in the Austrian’s favor.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.