Mischa Zverev Juggles Many Roles In Miami
Mischa Zverev has no qualms donning multiple caps at any one time. Even after qualifying for his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw in two years at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Tuesday, the German saw no reason to reprioritise his own tennis career higher up the order.
A former World No. 25 who holds a 133-198 tour-level win-loss record, Zverev’s standout runs came with his sole ATP Tour title at Eastbourne in 2018 and with an upset of top seed Andy Murray en route to the 2017 Australian Open quarter-finals. Now ranked No. 280 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, the 33-year-old is spotted more frequently courtside as part of brother Alexander Zverev’s coaching team.
That will require some extra juggling this week, following his final-round qualifying win over Italian Matteo Viola on Tuesday. He has his own main draw match against James Duckworth to prepare for now.
“I had to drop [Alexander’s] racquets off in the morning, get a massage table, I had to talk to the German tennis magazine this morning on the way here, then I had another phone call, kind of a business phone call, during breakfast,” Zverev said. “This is the fun part of being busy all day long.”
Zverev clearly relishes his coaching role alongside his father and co-coach, Alexander Sr., as well as that of hitting partner and brother, while juggling those of husband and father. There was no doubt, however, which roles came first.
“First of all my family. I'm a father, I'm a husband, and then of course, it's Sasha's career and then it's also my career,” he said. “I don't want to say third [in line], but you have to be rational about it, you have to be smart.
“If Sasha's getting ready for a Grand Slam then, yeah, I can put my Challengers and Futures on hold so I can help him. Whenever I get a chance I try to play, practise, we practise a lot together. That helps me and hopefully him a little bit as well.
“That keeps me in shape as we saw today. We played for three sets and my opponent got tired in the third set and I was able to kind of outlast him.”
It is an arrangement, which has paid dividends in Miami already this week. Even amid juggling roles, the German still found time to scout his final-round qualifying opponent.
“I watched a little YouTube last night before going to bed about midnight so I knew what to expect,” he said. “So far it's been a crazy, wild trip to Miami. We got here Sunday night, now it's Tuesday afternoon and I'm in the main draw all of a sudden. It couldn't be better so far.”
Zverev had only one match win from five previous qualifying attempts in Miami before 2021. He has triumphed in only one main draw match in six prior Miami appearances, but regardless of when his latest run draws to a close, there will be work to do supporting his brother before the chance to step back to his top priorities.
“Sometimes it's not easy because I'm trying to play and trying to be a good hitting partner and trying to watch what [Alexander’s] doing,” Zverev said. “I try to be there if he needs me as a brother, mainly.
“If you look at a clock or a watch, it's a complicated mechanism, but it functions and doesn't break down normally. So I'd like to consider we could become a mechanism like that, kind of complicated, but still functions well because everybody understands each other's roles.”