Home Sport Novak Djokovic gives verdict on Alexander Zverev after German throws away Wimbledon...

Novak Djokovic gives verdict on Alexander Zverev after German throws away Wimbledon win

Novak Djokovic says Alexander Zverev “deserves” to be a Grand Slam champion despite the miserable nature of his defeat to Taylor Fritz in the fourth round of Wimbledon. The big-serving German led by two sets before losing 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 on Centre Court but threw away victory.

He also lost after building the same advantage in the Australian Open semi-finals while he was one set from winning the French Open against Carlos Alcaraz just last month.

Now 27, Zverev has yet to win a Slam despite his promise. He has never even reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon having fallen at the fourth-round stage at the All England Club three times.

And 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who is bidding for what would be a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon crown this year, says Zverev is worthy of winning one of tennis’ four biggest events.

After beating Holger Rune to reach the last eight, Serb was asked about the challenge of winning a Slam with more than half of male players having never won one. He said: “There are different challenges, different levels of achievements in our sport.

“Obviously the big one is how to win a Slam. Then an even bigger one is how to be No. 1. Then even a bigger one is how to be winning multiple Slams. Then even a bigger one is how to do that for years and be the No. 1 player in the world for multiple years.

“Most of the players don’t achieve that in the course of their careers. I’ve been very blessed to be in that position. I’m very proud of all the achievements, but I do know how difficult it is to climb to the top.

“Like Zverev, for example, is a very good example. When you see his results, when you see his game, all he has done so far in the sport, he definitely deserves a Grand Slam title, right?

“But he was so close against Dominic Thiem in US Open [in 2020]. Played finals this year. He was up against Alcaraz in the finals of Roland Garros. Many times semis. Just edging closer and closer.

“It’s not easy. It’s not easy. The longer it goes without you winning a Slam title, the more you think about it. The more this pressure mounts on you every time you’re in that situation where, ‘Okay, I’m playing for the title again.’

“Then you start doubting yourself. It’s a huge icebreaker when you manage to win the first one. For players like Dominic Thiem, for example, when he won his Grand Slam, only Grand Slam, after that he couldn’t maintain that level for too long.

“Unfortunately injuries caught up with him. It’s unfortunate to have a player like that also not being able to be consistent with his level. He’s a player that could have won easily multiple slams. On clay court, as well.

“You have unbelievable players that never won a Slam, but they deserved to do. It’s just that Grand Slams are whole different animals in comparison to other tournaments.”

Zverev said of his crushing defeat: “I could be feeling better. All in all, I’m proud that I was fighting till the end. Obviously not an easy loss, but that’s how it is.

“First, obviously great that he came from two sets to love down. Respect. I was on one leg today. He is playing great.

“I think he is also going to be in the semi-finals of Wimbledon. I do expect him to win in the quarters. But also I do know that the match was not high level.

“It wasn’t a particularly great tennis match. There wasn’t really long rallies because I couldn’t play long rallies. There wasn’t really physicality.

“Again, it was all coming from me. I just couldn’t do that. So I knew, yeah, credit to him that he came back, but it wasn’t a great tennis match, you know?”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here