John McEnroe, the old rocker, who was perfectly acceptable with a stick in his previous life, is no longer in his main role as Tennis Commissioner Impressive on TV, but still vulnerable as a commentator at Eurosport. The 63-year-old New Yorker, who also looks like a New Yorker, is always worth listening to. He has such clear opinions as little. The eternal delay, that tugging and wiping by Rafael Nadal before he serves? “He should be punished, that’s a joke,” he shouted as the Spaniard struggled in a not-quite-important match with Novak Djokovic at Court Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday night.
McEnroe defended the Serbs. “No player has had to deal with more adversities,” he said, aiming for Djokovic to always have a little less sympathy on the pitch than Nadal and a proper Roger Federer. And to Alexander Zverev? McEnroe came up with this analysis: “The best thing that could happen to Zverev is Alcaraz. No one in this tournament talked about Sasha.”
Once again, McEnroe was right. Although he should have added: from now on everyone should talk about Zverev. Hamburger slipped into the semi-finals of the French Open. And he could – perhaps now is the time to mention it – become No. 1 in the world if he wins at Roland Garros.
If Zverev wins the tournament, he will jump to first place in the world rankings
Above all, Zverev, conspicuously and rarely, makes claims to new great works. Zverev recently spoke of young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who took sixth place in the world rankings and is celebrated by everyone: “He’s this new face in tennis and everyone wants to see something new.” “At the end of the day, I still know that at 25 I’m still number three in the world,” Zverev recalls, almost amused. And so Zverev sounded almost amusing when he said, “I just beat the best player in the world right now.” The fact that Alcaraz had bathed in the spotlight gave him plenty of motivation.
The success of Zverev 6:4, 6:4, 4:6, 7:6 (7), which many observers did not believe he could achieve, confirmed his belief that he could also defeat the next opponent. This might seem normal to a top athlete, but it isn’t. Former French professional Fabrice Santoro summed up how the roles were distributed when Rafael Nadal took to the clay courts where the cup was presented 13 times: “On the day when he is not the favourite, that means he is in Mallorca.” Nadal of Manacor.
Even more than Zverev – the shadow player at this French Open, who had to endure some faltering stages in this tournament and had to dodge match point in the second round against Argentine Sebastian Baez – Nadal improved even more miraculously during the course of the competition. Recently, Muller-Weiss syndrome in his left foot has felt again, a cartilage that he chronically affects. Nadal said he didn’t know two weeks ago if he would make it to the French Open.
Of course, the tennis industry has often heard such mind games from him. So it looked a bit steep for Novak Djokovic, after the defeat 2:6, 6:4, 2:6, 6:7 (7) that started on May 31 at around 9pm and ended on June 1 at 1:15am. . After 4:12 hours he said, “This isn’t the first time he’s been out and he’s 100% fit a few days after his injury and he can barely walk.” Then Nadal was asked how he could have played more than eight hours in 48 hours in his condition. He replied, “It’s not the right moment to talk about it.” After the tournament he will explain more.
It happens remarkably so often these days that every match could be his last at the French Open. And that immediately raises the question: Why does he keep playing after a ready-made farewell from Paris?
Unusual image: Zverev could not be bothered by anything. This is remarkably good at his game
First of all, on Friday – his 36th birthday – he will play in the semi-finals against Zverev. (Surprisingly, Croatian Marin Cilic defeated Russian Andrei Rublev 5:7, 6:3, 6:4, 3:6, 7:6 (10:2) on Wednesday evening and advanced to the second semi-final.) Unlike Djokovic, who did not Never looking comfortable with Nadal in the inhospitable night session in front of a biased audience, Zverev gives the impression that he could get Nadal into trouble – even on clay, even in a “Top 5” match. Hamburger was so satisfied with his really great performance against Alcaraz that he rated this game as the best of his Grand Slam career so far.
It was also remarkable how sternly, impulsive, calm Zverev remained. For the first time he managed to beat a fellow top ten at the 12th attempt, a fact he didn’t want to hold on to much, but was also happy to take it with him: “I was relatively confident it would come at some point. And if I’m up for it, I’m ready.” “
Zverev will not lack confidence in the semi-final against Nadal, especially since whether he likes it or not he will not be the main character on Friday either. Nadal was not once asked about his next opponent by the international media after his victory over Djokovic. There is now a great overlay at the top.
In any case, Zverev will rise to second place in the world. If Zverev does not win the French Open, then Russian Daniil Medvedev will move to the top. So for the first time since 2003, neither Nadal, nor Djokovic, nor Federer will take the top two. If Zverev wins the championship, he will be the first German at the top since Boris Becker in 1991.
For someone who came to the tournament as a shadow player, that would be a lot of light.