Federer Advises Zverev After Slam Disappointment
Alexander Zverev has proven his talent, soaring into the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings with five ATP World Tour titles last year, but once again fell short at a Grand Slam.
After a tough five-set loss to Hyeon Chung on Saturday, the World No. 4, still waiting to reach his first quarter-final at a major, received some valuable advice from 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
Remembering his own struggles early in his career, Federer reflected that it is not always easy to progress to the latter stages of a major for the first time. The Swiss did not advance past the quarter-finals at that level before breaking through and winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003.
“Give yourself time, maybe set the bar a bit lower,” Federer told the press he advised Zverev. “First let's maybe try to look for a quarter-final or a semi-final, not just right away coming to the Australian Open or US Open thinking, 'I have to win this thing'.
“Be patient about it. Don't put yourself under unnecessary pressure. Learn from these mistakes. Whatever happened happened. Unfortunately you have to believe in the process you're in right now. You had a good off-season. You're working hard. You're doing the right things. It's maybe not paying off at the Grand Slam level, but just stay calm, don't dig yourself into a hole. There's no reason for that right now.”
Explaining why he wanted to help his younger rival, who beat him to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal last year, the defending Australian Open champion added, “I just thought some nice words would maybe cheer him up, get him over the loss a few more hours earlier than it normally would.
“It's supposed to hurt. I'm sure it did. He looked crushed when I saw him. I gave him a tap on the shoulder and said, 'Come on, it's not too bad. It could be worse',” said Federer.
Zverev will perhaps look to use this advice in future Grand Slam championships, which he has admittedly struggled in.
“I have some figuring out to do with what happens to me in deciding moments in Grand Slams. It happened at Wimbledon. It happened in New York. It happened here,” said Zverev.
The Internazionali BNL d’Italia and Rogers Cup champion, disappointed after losing from two-sets-to-one up, summarised his thoughts on his level and his Grand Slam troubles in his press conference.
"I think game-wise my level was good," reflected Zverev. "I think I should have won in four sets but I think for four sets, as I said, the match was [at a] very, very high level and very intense. I'm still young, so I have got time. I definitely have some figuring out to do for myself.”