French Open: Alexander Zverev told Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer tip | Tennis | Sport


The German is hoping to reach his first ever Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open but is tasked with overcoming Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic is in phenomenal form at Roland Garros and is one of the two favourites to lift the title alongside reigning champion Rafael Nadal.

Zverev does not have a rich history at majors but has long been billed as the biggest star of tennis’ current Next Gen class. 

The world No 5 is an 11-time titlist and won the Geneva Open before heading to Paris looking to go one better than last year, when he fell to Dominic Thiem in the quarters.

Zverev is one of very few players to own a 50-50 record with 15-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic, having beaten him in two of their four meetings.

That includes a victory in the final of the ATP Finals in London last November.

The 22-year-old also beat Djokovic in the 2017 Italian Open in what was their only clay-court clash so far.

But the pair have never met in a best-of-five Grand Slam showdown and French Open expert Daniela Hantuchova insists if ‘Sascha’ Zverev is to record a memorable upset, he must keep points short.

And that’s because the former women’s world No 5 insists only Nadal and Roger Federer have the quality to be able to beat Djokovic in the longer exchanges.

Hantuchova said: “He can definitely once again challenge Novak and the fact he’s won a tournament coming into Roland Garros… we’ve talked about building that momentum and finding the rhythm on clay, he’s done that extremely well. 

“He’s going to be full of confidence. I think also he feels less pressure now nobody talks about him and when he’s going to lift a [Grand Slam] trophy for the first time. 

“He’s really mentally putting it all together now. 

“The bad news is that Novak said in the last press conference he’s playing better tennis than ever and when he says that, probably he means that. 

“It’s going to be really interesting how Sascha will approach this match. 

“For me he’s got to be super aggressive and try to come into the net which I feel like he should do much more because he’s a big guy and he’s got incredible ground strokes. 

“He can hit over the players most of the time and I just feel like sometimes he could finish it off at the net even better. He’s got to try and shorten up the points. 

“As soon as he gets into longer rallies with Novak, except Rafa and Roger maybe there’s not too many players who can stay with Novak head-to-head. 

“It’s going to be extremely important that he serves well, especially first serve and literally tries to hit Novak off the court in two or three shots but at the same time not rushing too much so he doesn’t start to make too many unforced errors.”


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