Zverev hails Rome triumph: “Now I can dream again”

The German says he feels that he’s back to his best again after the ankle injury he suffered at Roland-Garros in 2022

Alexander Zverev Rome Inside / Panoramic

Alexander Zverev said his victory at the Rome Masters has given him the confidence he needs to have a good crack at the French Open title.

The German completed a perfect week as he beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday to win the Rome title for the second time and clinch his sixth Masters 1000 title and 22nd title overall.

And Zverev, who will return to world No 4 as a result of his victory, said this triumph was just as important as his first Rome title, especially as it is his first Masters 1000 title since 2021 and his first big victory since he suffered a serious ankle injury against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open.

“The first one is extremely special always,” he said. “But in a way, when I was young, I was extremely confident. I was thinking, OK, it’s going to come at some point. After the injury, I was not sure whether it’s going to come or not.

“This one is special in its own way because it proves me that I can win these kind of tournaments again. I’m at the level where I want to be. Moving forward, I can dream again. This is what this week brings me.”

Zverev: “I have to focus on myself”

Zverev will now go to Roland-Garros as one of the favourites, having proved himself again on the biggest of stages.

“I’ve said it many times before, and I’m going to say it again: I’m somebody that I know when I don’t play well, I can lose to anyone, but when I play well, I know I can beat anyone,” he said. “That’s my mindset. That’s how I think about it.

“I know I have to focus on myself, to find my rhythm in Paris the way I did here. Then everything is on my own racquet.”

Zverev was pushing Nadal hard in 2022 when he suffered the ankle injury. Doing well in Paris, he said, means more to him than almost any other tournament.

“I think it’s the one where I have the most memories, good or bad,” he said. “US Open, yes (in the 2020 final against Dominic Thiem), I was two points away from winning the title. Of course, that’s also one that kind of sticks out.

“Roland Garros, so close to being in the final in 2021 I felt like. I was playing some of the best tennis of my life in 2022. Those kind of things, they are still in the back of my mind. That’s the one that I want to do well in.”

With doubts about the form of Novak Djokovic, the form and fitness of Nadal and the fitness of both Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner and Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, Zverev will be many people’s pick for the title at Roland-Garros.

Zverev says big names will be tough at Roland-Garros

But the German said he expects many of his rivals to hit top form when the tournament begins.

“Nole is going to be at his best,” he said. “You’ll see. It’s just the way it is. Rafa is going to play a lot better than he did in Madrid and Rome. I’m certain about that.

“The other two, they just depend on health. If they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world, for sure, and there’s no question about it. Whether or not they are healthy, I cannot answer because I don’t know. I’m not inside their body. I saw Jannik posted a picture of him practicing again, so I’m assuming he’s fine and feeling good on the tennis court.

“Look, it’s all about health. When they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world.”

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