Zverev Reacts To Winning In Sarasota
This is your first title in nine years. What does it mean to you now that it’s sinking in?
It’s definitely great. Nine years is a long time. I’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of ups and downs. I started my comeback in 2014 after having wrist surgery, so this is definitely a great push ranking-wise and also for my confidence, especially on clay. I used to say that clay is not my favorite surface, but winning a big Challenger in Sarasota is good for the confidence and the ranking,
You’re heading overseas next instead of playing the next two green clay Challengers in the U.S. Why?
I didn’t want to stay in the U.S. for too long because green clay is different from European clay. My main goal was to get ready for the French Open and this is how I did my schedule to prepare for the red clay there, which is a little bit different. I didn’t expect to be doing so well on the green clay. I just want to continue doing well and see where it takes me.
Were you tight trying to close out the match at 6-5 in the second set?
Tight is a big word. If you don’t win every week like some players do, you get a little nervous here and there. The whole match was very close. We broke each other a lot. I got broken at 6-5, but I stayed calm and said it’s just a game in the end. It doesn’t really matter if I win or lose. I just wanted to make the right choices and do the right things on the court. It paid off in the tie-break.
Gerald has had an incredible 2016. How were you able to turn the tide on him?
We have a similar game, but he’s a little bit more aggressive than I am. I just tried to be even more consistent and patient and keep my balls deep so he couldn’t do more damage with his forehand. I think he saw that I had a lot of long matches where I was consistent and that put pressure on him because he was going for too much sometimes.
The wind was a factor today, Did you feel comfortable in it?
I wouldn’t say comfortable, but I don’t take too many balls on the rise, so it doesn’t affect me as much. I let the ball drop and stay pretty far back, so I have enough time to adjust my footwork and choose big targets. I felt like I could get into a rhythm this week and be consistent without having to put too much risk in my shots.
How are you going to celebrate this win?
I’m probably not going to do anything crazy, but deep down I’m satisfied. I’ve worked really hard the last couple of weeks. My girlfriend is in Dallas, so I’m definitely going to see her if I can make the flight tonight or tomorrow. Just meet with my friends and have a nice dinner.