New York (AP) – Alexander Zverev scolded and hit the floor with his bat. He received a warning and moments later for cursing even a point deduction.
Exactly a year has passed since the Hamburg native failed in the last sixteen at the US Open after winning the first set against Argentinian Diego Schwartzman after several outbursts of anger. When Germany’s top tennis professional lost the first set in the quarter-finals against Croatian Borna Coric this year after a desperate 1: 6 performance, when he complained to the chair umpire about a wrong decision when Coric left the court for what felt like the 27th time , to change his clothes – an outburst of anger would not have surprised anyone.
However, Zverev remained as calm as if he had taken a vow of silence for this unknown Corona-US Open 2020. His playground equipment remained intact and there were no spectators to mess with. “It was very dry, very grown up. There was enough reason today to hack a racket or scream or hang your shoulders. But that’s exactly what he didn’t do,” said three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker in his role as an Expert of the TV channel Eurosport.
This is precisely one of the reasons that Zverev has now entered the ranks of the top four in New York as the first German tennis player since Boris Becker a quarter of a century ago. With a little cramp and a lot more struggle than class, 23-year-old Coric, seeded at No. 27, struggled 1: 6, 7: 6 (7: 5), 7: 6 (7: 1) in 3:25 p.m. . ), 6: 3 down.
As with the Australian Open at the start of the year and before the month-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zverev is now back in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament – and is clearly the favorite there against Spaniard Pablo Carreño-Busta on Friday. “I am in the semi-finals, but I think I can improve a few things and that gives me confidence. I certainly do not want to stop here,” said the number seven in the world.
If he didn’t stop against the 29-year-old from Gijon, Zverev would be the first German US Open finalist since Michael Stich in 1994. A year later, Becker made it to the semi-finals, and so far the last German champion was in New York. 1989. That this year after the disqualification of the world’s number one and top favorite Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s unusual performances, the prospects for Zverev at his Grand Slam premiere are greater than ever before, of course. and press in equal measure.
“We will have a new Grand Slam champion. That’s all we know for sure,” Zverev said while speaking into the press conference cameras with mouth and nose protection. Seven months ago he reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in Melbourne for the first time and lost to the Austrian Dominic Thiem.
Turbulent months followed with the interruption of the season, the now widely discussed Adria Tour including suboptimal behavior in the middle of the corona crisis, an aborted press conference at the show tournament in Nice, the corona infection of his father or the commitment of David Ferrer as a coach.
But unlike in the past of his still young career, Zverev now manages to focus on the essentials right in time for the pinnacles of his tennis life. “I have more experience, maybe I’m a bit calmer in the Grand Slams than in the past. I often wanted it too badly,” said Zverev. The fact that he sometimes played spooky tennis against Coric and still won the match is a trait of a champion. Or, as Boris Becker put it after a live broadcast with Zverev: “I call that the maturity test.”