Zverev’s grand slam dream ends in pain

German Alexander Zverev thought his time had finally come to win a grand slam title, but his French Open campaign ended in agony after he had to retire with an ankle injury during his semi-final against Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

Long touted as a potential great champion, Zverev fought tooth and nail against 13-time Roland Garros winner Nadal under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier before rolling his right ankle and falling as he fell 7-6 (8) 6 -6 was left behind .

He continued to scream in pain before leaving the field, crying in a wheelchair as people in the crowded stands and his opponent looked on in shock. The lanky German returned on crutches a few minutes later to confirm his retirement.

“In the end I have often said: I am not 20 or 21 years old anymore; I am 25,” said the Olympic singles champion this week after stopping the juggernaut of Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

“I’m at the stage where I want to win, I’m also at the stage where I should win.”

A first grand alam title at Roland Garros would have seen Zverev, who lost in last year’s semi-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas, rise to the top of the men’s world rankings on Monday after the clay court closed.

He also wanted to become the second German man to reach the Roland Garros final in the Open Era, alongside Michael Stich, the runner-up in 1996.

Nadal was the last man to retire from a grand slam semi-final or final when the Spaniard withdrew from his last four games at the 2018 US Open, leaving Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in two sets.

“Very hard and very sad for him,” Nadal said on the track. “Honestly, he played an incredible tournament. He is a very good colleague in the Tour.

“I know how much he fights to win a grand slam, but at the moment he was very unlucky. The only thing I know for sure is that he is not going to win one, more than one.”

While the extent of Zverev’s injury was still unclear, there were doubts about his entry into the grasscourt major at Wimbledon, which starts on June 27.

“When you heard those cries, you knew it was serious,” said Eurosport analyst Chris Evert, who won seven of her 18 majors at Roland Garros.

“My mind was wondering about that big summer of Wimbledon and US Open and whether he will be able to play or will he miss it. The thing about Zverev is that he really came into his own, he played such a good tournament all the time.”

Leave a Comment