With his dramatic exit from the French Open, Alexander Zverev created one of the most dramatic moments in German tennis history. In a duel with Rafael Nadal, a nasty injury slows the Germans down. The dream of the very first Grand Slam title: burst.
3:00 p.m .: Tennis Germany is sitting in front of the television. Nadal and Zverev enter the largest clay court stage in the world. There is a party atmosphere in the sold-out Court Philippe Chatrier.
Of course, the 13-time record champion is cheered more frenetically. But Zverev doesn’t seem to care at all. Germany’s number one is in top form against Nadal and forces the Spaniard into a tie-break in the first set. With a score of 6: 6 (6: 2), Zverev has four set balls and the first round is almost in his pocket. Then Nadal suddenly shifts up a gear and wins the tiebreak thriller 10: 8 – after more than one and a half hours.
In the second set, Zverev also fought a duel at eye level with Nadal. Both semi-finalists open with a break festival.
Again everything points to a decision in the tie-break. But then the unbelievable happens. Nadal sends the German far out of the field in one fell swoop, Zverev slips into the forehand with all his might and twists his right foot badly. At 6:09 p.m. his dream of his first Grand Slam success ends.
The 25-year-old remains lying on the ground with a pained face. A ball boy standing behind Zverev looks at him with concern and doesn’t know how to react. The spectators are shocked. Many of them can hardly bear the sight. You close your eyes.
The referee and paramedic immediately rush over, and Nadal also wants to know how his opponent is doing. Zverev is finally pushed off the pitch in a wheelchair to applause. Even at this point in time, it can be guessed that little is going on for the German.
Shortly thereafter, he comes back to the clay court accompanied by Nadal. The injured foot is missing a sock and shoe. Finally the moment that many had already feared but did not want to believe. Zverev gives up. His dream of the first Grand Slam title has burst. Tennis fans all over Germany are speechless. Nadal hugs Zverev. He didn’t want to win the match that way either.
With his crutches, the German tennis star waves again in the direction of the spectators, who cheer him loudly – and then disappears into the catacombs with his head bowed.
Zverev has already immortalized himself in the history books with his Olympic victory, but he is still missing a triumph in a Grand Slam tournament in his vita. Despite falling behind in the set in the semifinals, Zverev was on course to beat Paris’ 13-time triumphant in his living room. Zverev has proven his comeback qualities often enough. Until the tragic injury, it is an open game on the chatrier.
Brother Mischa shares his brother’s suffering on Eurosport: “It’s so undeserved. Anything can happen, but something like that is just undeserved.” And further: “If you’re as injured as Sascha is now, a piece of your life will be taken away from you for a certain time because you can’t run, you can’t go to the tennis court .”
How long Zverev will be out now is uncertain. It doesn’t look like the ankle is broken, the Eurosport expert told viewers after the first contact with his brother. A diagnosis is still pending. With world-class tennis against Carlos Alcaraz – and also against Nadal – Zverev reunited German tennis lovers in front of the screens for the first time after the Olympics.
It is to be hoped that he will recover quickly and find his old strength. His presumably week-long absence is tragic. With his participation in the tournament in Wimbledon on June 27th, after the terrible pictures, it is not to be expected. Although Zverev also attracts a lot of resentment, such as his hit against the referee’s chair in Acapulco, he still delivers the best that tennis Germany currently has to offer. Get well soon, Sasha! We need you back on the court as soon as possible!