Alexander Zverev battled Nadal for a very long time last year in their epic match which was unfortunately cut short after Zverev injured his ankle badly.
We're now a good year away from that moment with Zverev playing a match today, one that could see him advance to the Roland Garros semi-final. It's been a tricky season for the German who made a return in Australia but showed himself quite vulnerable being far away from his best tennis. Those struggles persisted throughout this year as he slowly built up his level but it was a really slow process.
He kept motivating himself to stick through it because it was very testing at times. Even when he had a good match, he would regress in his next one which was frustrating. Something clicked this year at Roland Garros as he tackled his fears of playing in Chatrier again by winning his first match back. There were nerves there present but he held on to win which started this good run for him.
He's not playing at the level he had last year but he's not far from it either. It's a good thing to see, especially considering the peak he showed last year against Nadal.
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That match against Nadal was truly something special. It was a marathon in the making, one that could have probably went close to five hours had they continued playing. Unfortunately, the injury happened and Zverev was forced to retire but it showed Nadal as one of the biggest fighters on the Tour. The German had him a couple of times in that match but Nadal kept fighting and breaking down a player that had a good decade on him.
In Zverev's own words, Nadal is the biggest fighter on Tour.
“He never gives up, he fights until the end of the last point, last moment, feel like he's the biggest fighter on tour”