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Alexander Zverev accuses the ATP after the Madrid final: because the Olympic champion is right

In February, Alexander Zverev set a bizarre record. At 4:55 local time, the Olympic champion converted his match point against Jenson Brooksby in Acapulco, Mexico. Later – one might even say earlier – no professional tennis player has finished a game since records began.
“At 5:00 the stadium is still pretty full here,” the Hamburg native later said, praising Acapulco’s special energy. A few hours later, Zverev competed in doubles and caused scandal after the defeat by hitting the referee’s chair.

But that’s not why the 25-year-old is fed up with night shifts. Zverev is much more annoyed that night operations have now become a regular phenomenon. The poison is for the biorhythm, for sufficient recovery phases and equal opportunities.

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Here’s what it looks like Markus Zoecke in an interview with Eurosport.de. The former top 50 professional speaks of “imposition” given the extremely late race times. You feel like you’ve been “wolf-struck” when you only have to return to the pitch half a day after playing at night.

Zoecke understands Zverev: “You are full of adrenaline”

“During a game you are full of adrenaline, so you don’t fall asleep right away when you go to bed. After a game, there are still press appointments, massages and the way back to the hotel,” explains the 53-year-old.

Zoecke, who won the ATP tournament in Sun City, South Africa in 1994 and also served for Germany’s Davis Cup squad, has fond memories of late-evening matches. “I’ve always enjoyed playing in the Night Session, even though it took a long time. Except those were different times, it happened to me maybe three times in ten years.”

Zverev shoots at the ATP: “I’m fed up”

However, Zverev made no secret of what he thought of the long evenings at Madrid’s Caja Mágica. “The work of the ATP has been a real disgrace this week,” said the third in the world rankings after a 3: 6, 1: 6 defeat in the final against Carlos Alcaraz.

Zverev: “… then you died the next day”

Pushing Zverev with harsh words as an apology would be wrong. Because the fact is: in the round of 16 against Félix Auger-Aliassime he was on the pitch until about 00:30, in the semifinals against Stefanos Tsitsipas he clarified the victory at 1:10 am.

“The fact that the match with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals is not scheduled before 20:00 and then with Zverev against Auger-Aliassime is not possible. It is too late,” laments Zoecke. “And if you have the next game in the late afternoon, it looks like a game in the morning – and we know that Sascha is not a morning person.”

Well otherworldly! The best scenes of the victory of Alcaraz against Zverev

Zverev himself admitted that the fatigue factor plays an important role. “Two days ago I went to bed at four, at half past four, the next day at 5:20. If you stay awake for that long, you will die the next day.”

For comparison: Alcaraz finished the job at 18:45 in the quarter-final coup against Rafael Nadal and at 20:05 in the semi-final won against Novak Djokovic. But even the Madrid champion was sometimes late on his feet. Initially against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Alcaraz remained on the pitch until after midnight.

Zoecke suggests changes: “You have to discuss it”

Such times, Zverev said, also damage tournaments and the sport itself: “I’m sad about the final we played. It could have been a great match, a great match,” said the Hamburg man. Due to the first wild days of the last few days, it was not possible for him to “play at his level”. He had “no coordination on serve and basics”. “I had absolutely no chance of being myself.”

Highlights for the final: Zverev also frees Tsitsipas

Zoecke can understand the descriptions of the German number one. It is necessary to react. “We need to discuss how to prevent this problem. But it’s not like you can decide to let everything happen earlier in the day. The situation is more complex. Television, with its contracts and broadcast times, says a lot in this sense”. the former number 48 of the world.

However, there will be movement on the issue when stars like Zverev publish such massive criticism. One thing seems certain: the ATP can no longer escape the subject.

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