Match Reaction

Zverev delight after title run he ‘was not sure was going to come’

German lifts his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy since 2021 in Rome
May 19, 2024
Alexander Zverev celebrates on Sunday after winning his sixth ATP Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Alexander Zverev celebrates on Sunday after winning his sixth ATP Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. By ATP Staff

Even before Sunday afternoon, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia had played a special role in Alexander Zverev’s career.

The German lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title on the Rome clay in 2017, when he was just 20 years old. Having had to since work his way back from a serious ankle injury sustained in 2022 at Roland Garros, Zverev was delighted to come full circle by lifting his second trophy in the Italian capital by beating Nicolas Jarry in straight sets on Sunday afternoon.

“[It is] very different because obviously the first one is extremely special always,” said Zverev, when asked in his post-match press conference how he would compare his two Rome triumphs. “But in a way, when I was young, I was extremely confident. I was thinking, ‘Okay, it's going to come at some point’. After the injury, I was not sure whether it's going to come or not.

“This one is special in its own way because it proves to me that I can win these kinds of tournaments again. I'm at the level where I want to be. Moving forward, I can dream again. This is what this week brings me.”

Zverev deployed his booming serve to great effect to triumph against Jarry. He won 95 per cent (37/39) of his first-serve points, according to Infosys ATP Stats, and he was also rock-solid in all other facets of his game as he improved to 5-2 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with the Chilean.

“Obviously I've been playing well all week, from the first point of the first round until now,” said Zverev, who dropped just one set en route to the trophy. “Obviously I’m extremely happy with how things went. I struggled a little bit in the semi-finals but got my way out of it.

“Today was a great performance. I think Nico has been somebody that has been playing extremely well. The way that he beat the opponents, what kind of opponents he beat as well, shows that he's been absolutely on fire. I had to neutralise that. I had to neutralise his serve, as well, a lot.

“Of course, I'm happy to be sitting next to this trophy."

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Zverev was full of praise for his team, which includes his father and coach Alexander Zverev Sr. After winning his third ATP Tour trophy since his injury, and his biggest since the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, the 27-year-old reflected on the support he received from Zverev Sr., both on and off court.

“In life in general, I think a father is always important, no matter who it is,” said Zverev. “Somebody who is there. Obviously in my career, super important. It's funny because we actually have a great relationship, which is not always the case. A father-son, father-daughter relationship, when they're coaching them as well. You see it a lot of times, it's very shaky. But we have a great relationship outside as well.

“It's great to still have him around. I'm going to have him around as long as he wants. It's obviously a special moment for all of us, given the circumstances, that this is my first Masters title after the injury. There were obviously a lot of uncertainties whether I was going to be back at this level. I'm happy that the week went the way it went.”

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Zverev will now head to Roland Garros, where he will chase his maiden Grand Slam title. He will compete in Paris as the No. 4 in the PIF ATP Rankings, his highest ranking since August 2022.

“I've said it many times before, and I'm going to say it again: I'm somebody that I know when I don't play well, I can lose to anyone, but when I play well, I know I can beat anyone,” said Zverev. “That's my mindset. That's how I think about it.

“I know I have to focus on myself, to find my rhythm in Paris the way I did here. Then everything is on my own racquet.”

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