Zverev: ‘The Year Can Only Get Better’
German bidding to lift second Montreal trophy
A lot has changed for Alexander Zverev since he lifted his maiden Coupe Rogers title in Montreal two years ago. The German has captured a further five ATP Tour trophies, including the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals crown, and reached a career-high No. 3 in the ATP Rankings.
But the German, currently ranked No. 5, is still searching for his best form in 2019 and will be hoping his return to a venue where he has already tasted success will help elevate his game. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals titlist is currently at No. 9 in the ATP Race to London, with 1000 ATP Rankings points available this week in Canada.
“It has been a horrible year, right? I am still Top 10 in the ATP Race To London and I’m still No. 5 in the ATP Rankings right now,” said Zverev. “You can always see things with the glass half empty or half full.
”It has not been the best year for me, but I am still No. 9 in the Race, competing for London and the biggest tournaments in the world. For me, the year can only get better. I hope it will start happening here. I hope it will go through the hard-court swing in the US and we will see. It is not all as bad as everybody thinks it is.”
In 2017, Zverev claimed his second ATP Masters 1000 trophy at this event. The German dropped just one set en route to the trophy, scoring wins against Richard Gasquet, Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Denis Shapovalov and Roger Federer.
“It helps going back to places where you know you have done well, where you have won the tournament and you feel comfortable,” said Zverev. “I hope this will be the case. I hope this place will help me on court and we will see how it goes."
Zverev, who captured his 11th ATP Tour title in Geneva in May, has compiled a 28-15 tour-level record this season. If the German can manage to put together another good run in Montreal, he may have to face Canadian opposition.
The 22-year-old took a moment to praise two of the leading stars of the Canadian game — #NextGenATP talents Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime — who also feature in the bottom half of the draw.
“I think Canada has two potential Grand Slam champions growing up right now,” said Zverev. “Denis and Felix are both amazing players. What Felix is doing this year is amazing at the age of 18.
”It is great to see him, the way he is and obviously Denis has shown over the past few years that he is going to become a great champion as well. I am excited to see what the future holds for both of those guys.”
Auger-Aliassime has impressed throughout the 2019 season, soaring more than 80 positions in the ATP Rankings since the start of the year. The World No. 22 has reached three ATP Tour finals already in 2019 and will be hoping to go deep in the draw at his home-town event.
“I have unbelievable respect for Felix. I think he is going to be a future Grand Slam champion… but he is still 18 years old. People need to give him some more time," said Zverev.
”I hope he will enjoy [this event]. I hope he will play many great matches and I wish him nothing but the best because this is a guy I always enjoyed watching playing. I have a lot of respect for him outside the court as well. He is one of the nicest guys, especially being only 18, with how respectful he is and everything that he knows already about the sport."
Zverev will open his campaign for a second Montreal title against Marton Fucsovics or Cameron Norrie. Could a return to the site of one of his greatest triumphs prove to be the catalyst for a rise up the ATP Race To London standings? A glass-half-full attitude may go a long way.