Will Alexander Zverev’s Madrid Win Have Any Impact On His French Open chances?
Statistics say yes, but in reality it is a much different picture the German is facing.
MADRID: Arriving to the tournament late and playing matches until gone midnight failed to derail Alexander Zverev’s emphatic run to the Madrid Open title.
The German world No.3 dispatched of Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4, in just 78 minutes on Sunday to clinch the title. Hitting 15 winners to 12 unforced errors. Capitalizing on an error-stricken performance from his Austrian rival, which featured 21 mistakes. It was a dream end to what has been a near-perfect tournament for Zverev. Behind his serve, he has held all 48 of his service games. Facing just one break point in the entire tournament.
“So far it’s been pretty good for me on clay this year. Hopefully I can continue this kind of streak in Rome.” Zverev said during his press conference. “Obviously the altitude fits me a little bit with my serve, with how I play, with me playing a little bit more aggressive than maybe others. That definitely fits me.”
Zverev’s victory has inevitably triggered hype surrounding his chances at the upcoming French Open that will get underway later this month. Grand slam events continues to be an Achilles heel for the German. He is yet to reach the quarter-finals at any major with his best run being to the last 16 at Wimbledon last year.
The conditions at Roland Garros are not the same as Madrid. The Spanish capital is located 667M above sea level (632 meters more than Paris). Meaning the speed of the ball travels quicker in what is a benefit to the bigger hitting players on the tour. Although there is a pattern forming amongst the winners at the Caja Magica. Since 2009, when the tournament moved to clay courts, the winner went on to reach the semifinals or better at Roland Garros during the same season.
“Winning two titles in two weeks is great. Winning a Masters, another Masters, is unbelievable. But before the French Open, there’s still Rome where I’m the defending champion. Obviously I have a lot of motivation to do well there.” Zverev commented about his confidence going into the second major of the season.
“I’m going to do the best I can to prepare myself for there, see how it goes.”
Despite the modest response of the 21-year-old. His rival Thiem has billed him as one of the best on the tour. Speaking about Zverev’s chances at the upcoming grand slam, Thiem thinks it will only be a matter of time before he goes deep in the draw. The world No.3 is yet to progress beyond the third round of the tournament.
“It’s obviously different best-of-five. I mean, one thing is for sure: he will go deep in a slam very soon.” Said Thiem. “There are a lot of dangerous opponents in the early rounds. I think that he’s always the best in the later stages in the tournament. If he has trouble or if somebody can beat him, it’s more in the earlier rounds. That’s what makes it difficult.”
Zverev is the fifth active player to have won three of more Masters 1000 titles and the first outside of the ‘big four.’ A group consisting of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Only time will tell if he can emulate the quartet by winning his first major title.
The French Open will get underway on May 27th.