Alexander Zverev – who talks about the Olympic champion in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal

Goran Ivanisevic summed up what was to come for his student Novak Djokovic and now also for Alexander Zverev. Competing against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros would be like “coming into someone’s living room”.

Zverev, on the other hand, believes there is something on this court that “makes Rafa 30 per cent better”. The statement shows how much appreciation and respect the 13-time Paris champion is.

Zverev’s camp knows the Spaniard is the favorite at first glance. In fact, there are a number of reasons that speak to the success of the world number three.

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the brothers Misha Zverev works exclusively at Eurosport He revealed these factors in a comparison between Olympic champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The 34-year-old explained: “Sasha has the fastest forehand of this quartet. The fastest backhand – he has Sasha. The fastest too.”

Misha to Alexander Zverev: “How should you hit …?”

Even the movement of the feet is quite competitive, although the German from “this circuit is the largest, but also has a greater range. In addition, there is a whole repertoire of punches.” Sasha also plays hard and has a good defense, ”explained Misha Zverev: the message to the brother is: “How do you defeat if you play well? You can be number one.”

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If Zverev actually wins the title at Roland Garros, he will be number one. It would be a historic double whammy, especially since there hasn’t been a German Open men’s champion since the open era began in 1968.
What gives the 25-year-old an extra tailwind ahead of his showdown with the King of Clay is his first win against a top ten player in one of four Grand Slam competitions. He earned it in the quarterfinals against shooting star Carlos Alcaraz, and is currently number six in the standings. Brother Misha emphasized: “Above all, he was not the favorite and proved to the critics that he could do it.”

Zverev is more comfortable than Nadal

It’s an impressive overall deal with the Hamburg player now playing in the semi-finals against Nadal – and aiming for his second win in a major event against a top-ten professional player. Both players reached the last four in 15:4 sets. The Spaniard has been on the field about 40 minutes longer in the previous five rounds, but the stats for the past two laps are more important.

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It took Zverev six hours and three minutes to take a three-set win over Bernabe Zapata Miralles and a four-set victory over Alcaraz.
Nadal has five sets against Felix Auger-Aliassime and four sets against Djokovic for eight hours and 33 minutes. Not to forget that he turned the match point against defending champion Serbia at 1:15 am.

The question of who enters the match more comfortable answers itself.

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Nadal leads 6:3 in direct comparison and has also won the last standoff so far in 2021 at Clay Court Masters in Rome, but Zverev can claim to have won three of the past four matches.

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But Zverev wants to prevent the error at all costs. He has lost sometimes in the past “because I put a lot of pressure on myself to win a Grand Slam”. That’s the ‘ultimate goal’, but one that can’t be achieved so persistently – and certainly not if you have to compete in Nadal’s living room.

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