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Zverev slams ATP over poor scheduling in Madrid

The German said he was left with nothing after playing until the early hours two nights in a row

Alexander Zverev Madrid final AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Alexander Zverev paid tribute to Carlos Alcaraz after his defeat by the Spaniard in the final of the Madrid Masters on Sunday.

But the German then launched into an attack on the ATP for an “absolute disgrace” in terms of scheduling, which he said cost him any chance of winning the title.

Zverev’s semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas finished at 1.30am on Sunday morning, more than five hours after Alcaraz had finished his match with world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

“He’s playing amazing. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. He’s playing amazing,” Zverev said of the 19-year-old Spaniard.

“But one thing I have to say is that the ATP’s job was an absolute disgrace this week. Two days ago I went to bed at 4:00, 4:30 a.m. Yesterday I went to bed at 5:20 a.m. If any normal person goes to bed one night at 4:00 a.m., the next night at 5:00 a.m., it will be a tough time just to be awake for them.

“And for me to play a final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world right now, in a Masters 1000 event, the next day, it is difficult.

“Today on court, I’m a little bit — now I’m a little bit angry, I would say, because I had no coordination today. I had no coordination on my serve, I had no coordination on my groundstrokes. I missed two overheads that were super easy because I see the ball, and everything is moving in my eyes.”

Zverev said he might have had a hard time beating Alcaraz even if he’d had better preparation but said something needs to be done to stop matches finishing so late at night.

“I had absolutely no chance today of being myself,” he said. “I had absolutely no chance of playing my level. This is not the first time this is happening. I mean, in Acapulco I played until 5:00 a.m. I played until 5:00 a.m. I was awake until 8:30 a.m. This is happening on a weekly basis, and to be honest, I’m a little bit tired of it.

“The scheduling needs to be done better. At the end of the day — yesterday I started my match at 11:00 p.m. I played three sets. Finished at 1:30, whatever time I finished.Until I get back to the hotel, until I eat, until I do my work with the physio because I have to prepare my body for the next day, it’s 5:00 a.m.

For me, it’s quite upsetting, because it takes away a great match. It takes away the sport of tennis. I mean, to be honest, not one person in the stadium — yes, most of the people in the stadium wanted Carlos to win and all of that, but nobody wanted to see a match like this. You know what I mean?

“It’s upsetting to me, because, as I said, in Acapulco I played until 5:00 a.m. Here, you know, the chances are being taken away from me, and at the end of the day, everybody forgets about those things. Nobody talks about it, you know. Everybody says, Yeah, it was a bad match, I made double faults, I didn’t play well and all of that. But look at what is happening the days before. Look at what is actually happening behind the scenes, as well. It’s not quite fair, I think.”

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