© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Alexander Zverev bows out in straight sets to Denis Shapovalov Sunday at Melbourne Park.

Zverev: 'One Of My Worst Matches Since Wimbledon'

German says no one but himself to blame for his fourth-round upset to Shapovalov

It was a swing that promised so much but ultimately delivered relatively little for Alexander Zverev.

The World No. 3 German ended his Australian Open campaign with a straight-sets loss to World No. 14 Denis Shapovalov Sunday at Melbourne Park. Coming into the Australian summer with the confidence of having beaten the world’s best to win his second Nitto ATP Finals title in November, the 6’ 6” German had every reason to believe big things were in store.

A shot at his first Grand Slam title and the potential to vie for World No. 1 in the first quarter of the season were realistic goals. But it all ended with a disappointing 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 defeat to the Canadian on Margaret Court Arena.

“At the end of the day, I've got to do better. I came here with a goal to win, and maybe to become No. 1 and all that,” Zverev said. “But if I play like that, I don't deserve it. It's as simple as that.

“I think after a match like this, it's very silly to talk about [No. 1]. I think I need to figure myself out first.”

Zverev said that Shapovalov surprised him by standing farther back and putting more returns into play, but that he didn’t take a lot of confidence into the match.

The third seed began his year with strong wins over Cameron Norrie and Taylor Fritz at ATP Cup, but he also suffered a three-set loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime. At Melbourne Park he had three straight-sets wins over Daniel Altmaier, John Millman and Radu Albot, but he said he never felt at the top of his game.

“I was playing bad the whole week. To be honest, I didn't think I was playing that great,” Zverev said. “Except against John Millman maybe I had a good match, but the other two matches weren't great either…

“To be honest, there is not much I can say or take away that was positive from today. Maybe since Wimbledon, [it’s] one of the worst matches I have played. It's just tough.

“I give credit to Denis. It's incredible he's in the quarters. I think he deserves it. He's done a lot of work. He's improved his game. But I've got to look at myself, as well. Today was just awful from my side.”

Zverev said that he had a good preparation during the off season and hopes that he can quickly turn around his mixed start to 2022.

“It's no one else's fault. It's not the coach's fault, it's not my team's fault, it's no one else's fault. It's purely me. At the end of the day, as the world No. 3, I have to take responsibility for the things I do and don't do. Today was just not good enough to beat someone like Denis.”