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Zverev injures hamstring in practice as Australian Open looms

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 7 Jan 2019
  • Alexander Zverev could be in doubt for the Australian Open after hamstring injury
  • Zverev injured his hamstring while practicing for Adelaide exhibition
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Alexander Zverev has suffered a hamstring injury as the 2019 Australian Open looms.

With the first Grand Slam of the year just days away, world no. 4 Alexander Zverev suffered a blow to his hopes after incurring a hamstring injury.

Zverev suffered the hamstring injury while training ahead of the World Tennis Challenge, an exhibition held in Adelaide. He was due to face Borna Coric on Monday but pulled out to be replaced by Fernando Verdasco.

The German still took to the court in Adelaide to address the crowd at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre and explain the situation.

The 22-year-old now faces a race against time to be fit for the 2019 Australian Open. Main-draw play for the first Grand Slam of the year begins on Monday 14 January in Melbourne.

Until suffering the hamstring injury, Zverev's preparations for the Australian Open looked good. He partnered Angelique Kerber at last week's Hopman Cup, where he went 3-0 in singles during the round-robin stages, scoring victories over David Ferrer, Lucas Pouille and Matt Ebden. 

Zverev in action at the Hopman Cup (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)
Zverev's singles victories played a role in Germany reaching the final for the second straight year - but in a rematch of the 2018 final against Switzerland's Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, Zverev lost 4-6, 2-6 to Federer and he and Kerber were just edged in the mixed doubles to finish runners-up once again.

Expectations were particularly high for Zverev at this year's Australian Open as the 22-year-old's finish to 2018 seemed to promise that he was ready to make a bigger impact on the Grand Slam stage. The German has often been perceived as underperforming at Grand Slam level - he is the only man outside of the 'Big Four' to have won multiple Masters 1000 Series titles, but has only once made it as far as the quarterfinals of a major, doing so at the 2018 French Open.

But Zverev, now coached by Ivan Lendl, defeated Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer back to back to win the Nitto ATP Finals at the very end of 2018, the biggest title of his career, and hopes were high that he was ready to challenge for Grand Slam titles.

World no. 5 Juan Martin del Potro has already pulled out of the Australian Open due to the fractured kneecap he suffered at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, and with Andy Murray still very much at the beginning of his comeback from hip surgery, tournament organizers will not want to lose another top male player.

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, pulled out of the Brisbane International last week with a thigh strain but showed no sign of injury as he played against Nick Kyrgios at the Fast4 Showdown exhibition on Sunday night. Nadal has not played an official match since retiring in the semifinals of the US Open last September.

The draw for the Australian Open takes place on Thursday 10 January.

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Zverev injures hamstring in practice as Australian Open looms

World no. 4 Alexander Zverev could be in doubt for the 2019 Australian Open after injuring his hamstring while practicing ahead of Adelaide's World Tennis Challenge exhibition

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