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“My confidence is below zero right now”- Alexander Zverev admits after first-round Wimbledon exit

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 2 Jul 2019
  • Alexander Zverev suffered a four-set first-round defeat to Czech qualifier, Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon on Monday
  • Zverev says his confidence is 'below zero' after another disappointing Grand Slam exit
  • Fellow young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas also crashed at the first hurdle on a dramatic opening day at SW 19
Alexander Zverev. (Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI)

World No. 5, Alexander Zverev says his confidence is ‘below zero’ following his first round loss to Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon on Monday.

Zverev made a bright start against Vesely, taking the opening set, but the German fell 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 in the latest in a long series of disappointing Grand Slam outings.

The German has never gone beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon, but this is the first time in his five visits that he has failed to cross the opening round. Zverev has made just two major quarter finals in 17 main draw appearances, both at Garros in 2017 and 2018.

“One or two things don't go my way, and everything kind of a little bit falls apart… It was kind of a typical Grand Slam match for me”, said the German, who is clearly irritated at his inability to breakthrough at the majors.

Beyond his Grand Slam struggles, Zverev has been well short of his best this season, claiming just one title at the ATP 250 meet in Geneva, and reaching one other final in Acapulco. The 22-year-old had rocketed up the rankings in the last couple of seasons, winning nine titles across 2017 and 2018, including three at Masters 1000 level, and the Nitto ATP Finals at the end of last season, but he has failed to reproduce those performances in 2019, stuttering to a 23-14 record for the year.

“I'm not very high on confidence right now. When I get to the important moments, I had, what, five, six break points in the fourth set alone? Can't take any of those. I had a 0/40, a 15/40. I'm down one break point myself and he takes it immediately, where I miss an easy volley,” Zverev said, referring to match point in the fourth set. “I didn't lose this match on tennis. It's just my confidence is below zero right now”, the German starkly admitted.

It is easy to understand Zverev’s frustrations. He out-aced Vesely 24-7, struck more winners, 49-46, and made less unforced errors, 22-26, but the sport’s scoring system places plenty of emphasis on the big points, and Zverev faltered in that department. The world No. 5 was 1/7 on break points, while Vesely converted five of his eight opportunities, including his solitary chance in the fourth set, which also doubled as match point in the 12th game.

This was always going to be a tough first round for Zverev, as Vesely is no ordinary qualifier. The Czech left-hander was a highly-rated youngster, named the ATP Star of Tomorrow in 2013, and while he hasn’t quite lived up the early promise, he has been as high as No. 35 in the world, and has made the fourth round at Wimbledon twice in the last three seasons.

“Let's be realistic: grass is not my favourite surface if you look at the past. Even though I had a very good draw here, Wimbledon is always tough for me. Especially if I play someone like Vesely in the first round, who serves very well, I thought returned extremely well today,” Zverev continued. “It's never easy.”

The German also mentioned that the days leading up to the match had been very ‘rough’ for him, but he didn’t specify what the problem was.

Zverev was not the only big name to fall in the men’s draw on Monday, as fellow young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas followed the German through the exit door, losing in five sets to Italian, Thomas Fabbiano on a dramatic opening day at the All England Club.

Tsitsipas had eased to a straight sets victory over the Italian in the third round last season, but Fabbiano, buoyed by his semi-final run in Eastbourne in the week leading up to Wimbledon, got his revenge with a superb 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-3 victory.

Tsitsipas was not at his best on Monday, struggling for timing and intensity at times, but that’s taking absolutely nothing away from the brilliance of Fabbiano, who married dogged determination with excellent hitting from the back of the court. The 30-year-old won 80% of points behind his first serve, saving 8 of 10 break points, and striking 45 winners and 40 unforced errors.

Fabbiano could have closed out the match in four sets, carving out two match points in a tense tie break, but Tsitsipas saved both en route taking the breaker and forcing a decider. The Greek had his chance to take control of the match early in the fifth set, but he could not convert any of three break points, in the second game, and Fabbiano made that escape count, running away with the contest in the end as he won the final four games to complete a famous victory- his first over a player ranked inside the world’s top-ten.

“He was just better than me today, Tsitsipas admitted. “I think the way I played, it should have been in three, not five. I don't know how I got to five. I guess with my fighting spirit, somehow I managed to win those two sets”. 
 “He was just much more solid than me”.

Wimbledon 209 is live from the All England Club from 1-14 July.

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“My confidence is below zero right now”- Alexander Zverev admits after first-round Wimbledon exit

Alexander Zverev says his confidence is 'below zero' after suffering a first round defeat to Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon on Monday. Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were the biggest casualties in the men's draw on Day 1.

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