Shanghai Rolex Masters
Monday, 9 October 2017
Q. This last part of the season is going to be a fairly busy one for you, apparently. How do you plan on managing all the events you’re going to play?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, how I manage all the events that I’m playing. I’m going to go out there, I’m going to try my best, play every match, you know, full and we’ll see how it goes.
But, you know, I feel good so far. Unfortunately, because I lost early in the US Open, I had a long period off after that. So I don’t feel that I played too much during the season. I feel I had a good schedule.
So, you know, I’m ready for the upcoming events. I’m ready for this one. I’m ready for the next big ones in Europe, and obviously London, as well.
Q. When you said you had some time off after the US Open, did you put the racquet down, or how did you approach that time?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I had five days off of doing nothing, and then I did ten days of just physical. I did kind of a mini offseason, actually. I did ten days of, you know, lifting weights, running on the track and doing stuff like that. And then I had I think another ten days of tennis practice.
I didn’t put down the racquet for too long. I would have had five days no matter what I did at the US Open. I just used it for training. I was still home, still enjoying Monaco a little bit. I was still at the sea and that helps mentally, as well.
I think a lot of players during this period are not tired physically. They are more tired mentally from traveling so much, from not being home, from just playing.
You know, I don’t feel this way, because I feel like I have spent quality time at home during the season, as well, so I’m ready to go still.
Q. You have obviously done very well this year at the Masters level, one of the few to win multiple Masters. However, still waiting for a breakthrough at the Grand Slam level. In your mind, how close are you to that top of the game?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Look, I mean, I have answered this question a lot of times. As I said, this year I didn’t lose bad Grand Slam matches, apart from the US Open. US Open I think was bad for me. I think I played bad.
Apart from that, you know, I lost to Rafa five sets in Australia. I lost to Milos five sets at Wimbledon, who was the finalist the previous year. You know, even in Roland Garros I felt like Fernando Verdasco played a good match against me, and especially it was not easy because I’d just won my first Masters in Rome. Maybe people were expecting a little bit too much from me, but that was something that I was never through, so I had to learn as well.
But as I said, you know, obviously I’m waiting for the breakthrough. Not waiting; I’m doing a lot of stuff for it. I’m practicing, working hard. I’m sure it will come. I’m very, very sure about it.
As I said, the only bad match I played at a Grand Slam was at the US Open. I’m always very honest with you guys. I always say when I played a bad match and when I felt like the opponent played better.
As I said, all the other slams I just felt like my opponent was better than me on that day.
Q. What sort of challenges does playing in Shanghai and Beijing present? Does it present different tests?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: No, I mean, I think the tournaments are doing everything they can for us. They are amazing events. The organization is great. I think Beijing is great. I think Shanghai is one of the best Masters that we have. I think maybe is the second-best Masters after Indian Wells even.
I don’t know. It’s just normal challenges, getting used to the conditions, I think. One thing that is very difficult for me and I think for all the other players I talk to is coming from Beijing where the courts were not that fast and we play with a Head ball, which is the fastest ball on tour, and here I think the court is the fastest court on tour that we have and we play with Dunlop balls, which are the slowest balls. So I think that is maybe the biggest challenge, but that has nothing to do with the place we are at.
I think maybe the tournament has to have a little bit better communication with each other so we don’t feel like we are coming, you know, to a different continent, to a completely different place. I think the conditions have to be quite similar, big back-to-back tournaments. I think Montreal and Cincinnati does it well. I think Rome and Madrid do it well. They play the same ball. Other tournaments, Indian Wells and Miami obviously does it very well, the court and the ball exactly the same.
I think here they should maybe talk to each other a little bit more, do that, but apart from that, it’s all great.
Q. You have made huge leaps this year. If you had to choose one aspect of your game that you have improved the most, is it physical, is it making better choices on the court? What is it?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I think physical and mental. I think physically I’m a lot stronger. I have showed that over a lot of matches. I am able to last against the best guys. Not only last but, you know, play at the highest level at the end of matches.
Also mentally, you know, I’m able to finish out matches, able to compete with the best in close matches.
But I think all around, you know, if you look at the stats from last year, my second-serve points won percentage, which I think is a very important one in tennis, was very low. This year I’m one of the best on tour.
You know, everything from first-serve percentage to breakpoints won and stuff like this, I think all those stats show that I have worked on different things in the offseason