26th GERRY WEBER OPEN 2017 June 18–24

Tickets +49 5201 8180 Mon – Fri. 9am – 5pm and Sat. 9am – 1pm.

Interview with Alexander Zverev

Last year you had a really successful year here. I wonder what your memories are of that week and whether you feel any extra expectations from your home crowd this year?
No, I think, you know, going into the tournament you know it’s a really tough tournament, you know the draw is very tough. But I know that I can play well here, I showed it last year. I feel well in practice and I’m just going to go match by match and hopefully I can keep up my good form and maybe even improve it and then we will see how it goes by the end of the week.
You had a really good clay season. How difficult have you found the move to grass being quite a tall guy, is it particularly challenging for you
Well, I’ve had extra time because I didn't do so well in Paris, so I had extra time on the grass to practice. I actually played well in s’Hertogenbosch I thought. You know sometimes .... I played Gilles who played fantastic. So sometimes you just got to say that somebody is playing better than you. It’s just as simple as that. I don’t think I played a bad match. I don’t think I played bad at all the whole tournament. He just played better than me and that’s what happened.
You obviously play a lot of doubles with your brother and clearly that’s also for the pleasure of doing so but do you find you are learning quite a lot in your game because his style is quite a contrast to yours?
I think in doubles in general you learn a few things, you learn to serve and volley, you learn to volley a lot, hit the returns in the correct spot while in singles it’s a little bit different. I think it’s also very important to play in doubles and it’s also very special for me playing with him every single time.
Did you get in contact with Michael Stich last week? Did the two of you talk again??
No, we didn’t talk. He also didn’t try to contact me or anything. This year, I won’t play Hamburg although it really is my favourite tournament on the Tour. But I do have a goal this season and I will tell you my goal, it is to play in London. I am number 5 in the Race and, as we all saw in the past, whenever I went on clay directly after Wimbledon I lost first round in Hamburg, and afterwards it is difficult to go back on to hard court. I just want to prepare well for the hard court season in order to play good tournaments to get enough points to perform in London.
But there is no contractual agreement to play there?
No, there never was. I never signed anything. Neither did Michael sign anything. So, to be honest I really don't know where this came from. You can also ask my manager with respect to that. But there was never a contract or anything. If there was a contract I would play. But since there were no agreements and there is not contract I need to see what is best for me and what is best for this year and my future.
Roger Federer has a lifetime contract here in Halle. He is your big role model. Could you imagine to sign something like that for many many years?
Yes, I could because it is one of my favourite tournaments. But I think Federer would have to put his racket down first which, hopefully, will not happen for a few years for the sake of all tennis fans and also tennis players because we all really like him. But I’m not that far yet. I haven’t won enough to sign and agree something like that with the tournament.
Would it be a problem for you to commit yourself long-term?
If the tournament is perfect in the calendar like Halle is, it’s a week after Paris and a week before Wimbledon, then no.
Tomorrow, you will play Paolo Lorenzi. How do you rate him as an opponent, he hasn’t had a match on the Tour yet?
Let’s put it this way, I think he is more of a clay courter although I don’t know him that well. I think I will ask my brother. He played doubles with him a few times. It's going to be an interesting encounter and I hope I can play as well as I did in practice. Then, it should work out.
It seems as if you have a cold?
No, I have allergies with this weather. Last year, it only rained here and I played every match under the closed roof which, actually, was perfect for me. Now, the sun is shining and I have a bit of an allergy, that’s all.
Also with respect to Wimbledon you are in the Top-Ten area. Do you personally have any particular expectations regarding Wimbledon?
First, I am here at this big tournament and need to focus. And, of course, to play well in Wimbledon is a big goal for every player. I think I can play well on grass and win matches, too. So, let’s see how things will go there and here. It’s going to be a couple of interesting weeks.
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